Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, MYSTICS, PATRONAGE - EYES, PATRONAGE - TELEVISION, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 12 August – St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) Virgin

Saint of the Day – 12 August – St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) Virgin. Patronages – embroiderers, needle workers, eyes, against eye disease, for good weather, gilders, gold workers, goldsmiths, laundry workers, television (proclaimed on 14 February 1958 by Pope Pius XII because when St Clare was too ill to attend the Holy Mass, she had been able to see and hear it, on the wall of her room.), television writers, Poor Clares, Assisi, Italy, Santa Clara Indian Pueblo.

The Roman Martyrology reads today: “At Assisi, in Umbria. Italy, St Clare, Virgin, the first of the poor woman of the Order of Minors. Being celebrated for holiness of life and miracles. she was placed among holy virgins, by Alexander IV.

St Clare, Virgin, Founder,
Mystic, Miracle-worker
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888) (Excerpt)

St.Clare, Founder of the Order which bears her name, was born of rich and pious parents, at Assisi, in the district of Umbria, in Italy. She received the name of Clare, which means “clear or bright,” for the following reason. While her mother Hortulana, was kneeling before a Crucifix, praying that God might aid her in her hour of delivery, she heard the words: “Do not fear. You will give birth to a light which shall illumine the whole world.”

From her earliest childhood, prayer was Clare’s only delight. She gave to the poor all the presents which she received from her parents. She despised all costly garments, all worldly pleasures. Beneath the fine clothes she was obliged to wear, she wore a rough hair-girdle. She partook of so little food that it seemed as if she wished to observe a continual fast.

During this same period lived St Francis, surnamed “the Seraphic,” on account of his great virtues. Clare frequently went to him and confided to him, her desire to renounce the world and to consecrate her virginity to God and to lead a perfect life in the most abject poverty. St Francis who saw that besides other gifts and graces, she was filled with the most ardent love of God, possessing great innocence of heart and despising the world, strengthened her in her holy desire, while at the same time, he tested her constancy. Being sufficiently convinced that her desires were inspired by Heaven, he advised Clare to leave her home, which she did on Palm Sunday, going to the Church of the Portiuncula, where she had her hair cut off, as a sign that she would enter a religious life. She divested herself of all feminine ornament, and attired in a penitential garb, tied around her with a cord, she was placed. by St Francis in a vacant Benedictine Convent. She was at that time just eighteen years of age.

When her parents heard of what she had done, they hastened to the Convent, to take Clare home, declaring that this choice of a state of life was only a childish whim, or that she had been persuaded to it by others. Clare, however, after opposing their arguments, fled into the Church, and clinging to the Altar with one hand, with the other she showed her head shorn of its hair, exclaiming: “Know all, that I desire no other bridegroom but Jesus Christ. Understanding well what I was doing, I chose Him and I will never leave Him.” Astonished at this answer, all returned home, admiring her virtue and piety. Clare thanked God for this victory and was, on account of it, all the more strengthened in her resolution.

Clare had a sister younger than herself, named Agnes. A few days later she, too, fled from her parents’ roof and going to Clare, wished to be invested in the same habit and to serve God in the same manner. St Clare received her joyfully but as all her relatives were provoked beyond measure that she, too, had entered a Convent, twelve of them went and forcibly tore her from her sister’s arms. Clare took refuge in prayer and, as if inspired by the Almighty, ran after her sister, loudly calling her by name. God assisted her by a miracle. Agnes suddenly became immovable, as if rooted to the ground and no-one possessed strength enough to drag her from where she stood. Recognising in this, the powerful hand of God, they opposed her no longer but allowed her to return to the Convent.

Meanwhile, St Francis had rebuilt the old Church of St Damiano and had bought the neighbouring house. Into this house he placed his first two religious daughters, Clare and Agnes, who were speedily joined by others, desirous of conforming themselves to the rule of life which St Francis had given to Clare. This was the beginning of the Order of Poor Clares, which has since given to the world, so many shining examples of virtue and holiness, to the salvation of many thousands of souls.

St Clare was appointed Abbess by St Francis and filled the office for forty two years with wonderful wisdom and holiness. Her mother too, together with her youngest daughter, took the habit and submitted to the government of St Clare.

She was, to all in her charge, a bright example of poverty. In austerity towards herself, she was more to be admired than imitated. The floor or a bundle of straw was her bed, a piece of wood, her pillow. Twice during the year she kept a forty days’ fast on bread and water. Besides this, three days of the week, she tasted no food and so little on the others that it is marvellous that she could sustain life with it. The greater part of the night, she spent in prayer and her desire for mortification was so great that St. Francis compelled her to moderate her austerities.

She nursed the sick with the greatest pleasure, as in this work of charity, she found almost constant opportunity to mortify and overcome herself. Besides all her other virtues, she was especially remarkable for her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She sometimes remained whole hours immovable before the Tabernacle and was often seen in ecstacy, so great was her love for the Saviour it concealed. She sought her comfort in Him alone in all her trials, amidst all her persecutions and how great were the graces she thereby received, the following event will sufficiently illustrate.

The Saracens besieged Assisi and made preparations to scale the walls of the Convent. St Clare, who was sick at the time, had herself carried to the gates of the Convent, where, with the Ciborium, containing the Blessed Sacrament, in her hands, prostrating herself in company with all her religious, she cried aloud: “O Lord, do not give into the hands of the infidels, the souls of those who acknowledge and praise Thee. Protect and preserve Thy handmaidens whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.” A voice was distinctly heard, saying: “I will protect you always.”

The result proved that this was the Voice of Heaven. The Saracens, seized with a sudden fear, betook themselves to flight, those who had already scaled the walls, became blind and flung themselves down. Thus were St Clare and her religious protected and the whole City preserved from utter devastation, by the piety and devotion of the Saint to the Blessed Sacrament.
We must omit many miracles which God wrought through His faithful servant.

[When St Clare] … had reached the age of sixty years, during twenty-eight of which, she had suffered from various painful maladies, although she had not been confined to her bed, or rather, her bundle of straw. Her patience while suffering was remarkable and she was never heard to complain.

The hour of her death drew near and she saw a great many white-robed virgins come to meet her, among whom was one who surpassed all the rest in beauty. She followed them and they led her to see the Almighty face-to face. Several who had read in the depths of her heart, said that she died more from the fervour of her love for God, than from the effects of her sickness. Her holy death took place in 1253. The great number of miracles wrought after her death, through her intercession and the heroic virtues which made her so remarkable, induced Pope Alexander IV., only two years later, to place her in the number of Saints.

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS

Saint of the Day – 11 March – Blessed John Baptist Righi of Fabriano OFM (1469–1539)

Saint of the Day – 11 March – Blessed John Baptist Righi of Fabriano OFM (1469–1539) Priest, Friar of the Friars Minor, Confessor, Ascetic, rEcstatic, enowned Preacher, peace-maker, Hermit. Born as Giovanni Battista Righi in 1469 at Fabriano, Ancona, Italy and died on 11 March 1539 of natural causes. Also known as – Giovanni Battista da Fabriano, Giovanni da Fabriano, Giovanni Righi, Joannes de Fabriano, Johannes Baptista Righi, John Baptist of Fabriano. His body is incorrupt.

John was born in Fabriano of the Righi family. From an early age, he was very obedient to the teachings he received in his family. Reading the life of St Francis of Assisi, he decided to become a Franciscan Friar. And so, in the prime of his youth, our Blessed wore the Franciscan habit in the Convent of Forano, near Rieti. After his profession, he devoted several years to the study of philosophy and theology before being Ordained a Priest. For many years he was a very obedient and humble Friar. It is assumed that the young professed went from Forano to the solitary Convent of La Romita, a former Monastery of the Camaldolese.

Giovanni spent practically the rest of his life, about fifty years, up there in Romita, sometimes dedicated to the apostolate and more often, to silence and prayer, penance, reading the works of the Holy Fathers of the Church. In the solitude of La Romita, our blessed found what his heart desired. In the Church, there was a venerable image of Jesus Crucified, which belonged to St John of the Marches – John made it the object of frequent visits, ardent prayers, profound meditations and even,, by permission of the Lord, not rare ecstasies.

Emulating his seraphic Father, he ardently wanted to unite himself to the sufferings of Jesus, to transform himself into the Crucified Love, so little loved by much of the world. He found another object that touched his heart and fueled his filial piety: a terracotta image, which represented the Blessed Virgin contemplating the Child Jesus lying on her lap and which was flanked by the figures of the Apostle St James the Greater and St Francis of Assisi. And so, the solitary devotee spent long hours at the foot of the new and captivating image of the Mother of the Lord, exchanging affections and feelings. In the evening, after the Matins prayer, when his brothers retired to rest, he remained in the choir to continue his prayers which often ended in ecstasy. exchanging affections and feelings. In the evening, after the Matins prayer, when his brothers retired to rest, he remained in the choir to continue his prayers which often ended in ecstasy. exchanging affections and feelings.

In the dense forest that surrounded the solitary Convent, there was and still is, a small cave, like a hermitage inside the hermitage, where John went to devote himself to prayer and penance . For our blessed, Heaven on earth was in his retreat and solitude. But charity and obedience required him, from time to time, to undertake long journeys.

At that time, the different lords and noble families of the region were in conflict. Society and the Church experienced the ups and downs of the progress of a rebirth in all orders. And in high society, as well as among soldiers and ordinary people, demoralisation and the decline of good manners was the norm. John was not an eloquent orator but with his simple and persuasive word he managed to touch hearts and lead them to conversion.

He embarked on long journeys with joy of spirit to pacify the belligerents or to exhort both warring parties to convert and change their lives. When he travelled, always accompanied by another friar as was obligatory, he brought with him nothing but his peaceful poverty and his firm trust in God. his word was always a warm exhortation to the fulfillment of the divine Commandments, to the frequency of the Sacraments, to love one’s neighbour, to free the world from slavery. And he spoke with such zeal and persuasion that many were converted to God, reconciled, confessed, they did penance for their sins. The fame of the simple Friar spread throughout the Marches of Ancona.

Great was the charity of John with all those who met him on his travels or with those who came to him for spiritual guidance and Confession.. But what he practiced with the Friars of his Convent was even greater. He was attentive to their wants and needs and his greatest joy was to serve the sick, giving them every care promptly and gently.

His love for Jesus Crucified, the constant object of his love and contemplation, led him to practice the austerities and penances typical of the ancient anchorites, whose writings he read with pleasure, in particular those of St John Climacus. He continually fasted on bread and water, eating only one meal a day and even less during Lent. As a true son of St Francis, he loved poverty and practiced it, contenting himself with the patched tunic and the Breviary for the liturgical praise of the Lord. His cell, later transformed into an oratory, was small and sober. Indeed, his reputation for holiness soon spread throughout the region and when our Friar travelled, sick people were brought to him even from distant regions, to bless them,and there were numerous votive offerings that were and still are displayed.

One day he was seized by a great malaise. The Friars came, gave him first aid and looked after him until it seemed to them that the danger had passed, then they withdrew . Soon after, left alone in his small cell, he fell asleep peacefully in the Lord. His body was buried in the cemetery of the Convent but, ten years later, it was unearthed, found incorrupt and placed in an urn under the Altar of the Holy Christ. And there, in the Church of San Giacomo della Romita, he is still preserved and venerated today. His cult was confirmed by Pope Leo XIII on 7 September 1903.

The Church where the Body of Blessed John Righi is enshrined
Posted in CARMELITES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 March – Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart OCD (1747– 1770)

Saint of the Day – 7 March – Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart OCD (1747– 1770) Virgin, Nun of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, Mystic. Born on 15 July 1747 at Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy as Anna Maria Redi and died on 7 March 1770 at Florence, Italy of a severe and painful abdominal disorder, aged just 22. Also known as – Ann Maria Redi, Anna Maria Redi, Anne Mary Redi. Teresa Margherita Redi of the Sacred Heart.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In Florence, Saint Teresa Margherita Redi, a Virgin, who, having entered the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, travelled an arduous path of perfection and was struck by premature death.”

“Eu sou Teresa de Jesus e te quero entre as minhas filhas!” – Santa Teresa de Ávila, Mosteiro de São José, Ávila (Espanha) – Foto: Francisco Lecaro

Anna was born into a large, noble and devout family in Arezzo Italy in 1747. From the earliest days of her childhood, Anna was filled with a deep love of God questioning the adults around her as to “Who is God?” Already she was dissatisfied with answers given her. Only the contemplative life of a Carmelite nun could begin to quench her thirst to know and give herself completely to God. Her entire life was driven by the desire to “return love for love.”

She entered the Carmelite convent in Florence at the age of seventeen, advanced rapidly in holiness and died an extraordinary death at twenty-two.

She was a model religious with an astonishing depth of spirituality, purity of heart, humility and ardent love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was given a special contemplative experience of the words of St John, “God is love” and she lived in fidelity to this experience by a hidden life of love and self-gift.

Christ crucified was always in her mind, “the captain of love,” who held aloft “the standard of the Cross.” After her 1758 spiritual retreat, she proposed in all her actions not to be motivated other than by love and to unite her will with that of God. She was assiduous in small services to the sisters and would not allow gossip or criticism. She exclaimed constantly, “God is love.”. Her life was one of continuous thanksgiving, “which would prove to the person who does not believe in Him or not dare to approach Him, the goodness and generosity of our most loving God!

Her love of God was powerfully expressed in her love for her sisters, to whom she gave herself in dedication and service. Appointed Infirmarian, she cared for the ill and elderly of her community, even the most difficult, with gentleness, equanimity, and patience.

True to the tradition of the Order, Teresa Margaret was utterly devoted to Our Lady whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity.

The cornerstone of St Teresa Margaret’s spirituality was to remain hidden, to appear just like everyone else’ in spite of her heroic virtue. To our loss, she has remained very much hidden even after her death. Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen commented “This is an odd fact, for we do not hesitate to rank her among the primary figures who represent the glory of Carmel – among Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross and Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”

Although St.Teresa Margaret led a life of exquisite holiness and purity, it was also a life that is whollyone of imitation. In her were combined Martha and Mary, as she served her community as a nurse in the Infirmary, while reaching the heights of contemplation. N

After her death all the swelling and discoloration in her body disappeared, her body was incorrupt several weeks later, had a healthy glow and exuded an odour of perfume. Pope Pius XI Canonised her on 13 March 1934. 

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 20 February – Blessed Pietro of Treia OFM (1214-1304)

Saint of the Day – 20 February – Blessed Pietro of Treia OFM (1214-1304) Friar of the Friars Minor, renowned and eloquent Preacher, Mystic and Ecstatic who levitated and experienced visions. Born in 1214 and died on 19 February 1304 at the Franciscan Convent of Sirolo, Italy.

The Blessed Pietro da Treia was born in 1214 was descend from the noble Marchionni family. From childhood he showed a particular love for the Archangel Gabriel.

After spending the first years of his youth among the riches and comforts derived from his social condition, he decided to change his life and follow a more austere evangelical life. He entered the Order of Friars Minor at a very young age. Eager to imitate the virtues of St Francis, he also materially followed in his footsteps, residing for a long time in La Verna.

Blessed Pietro da Treia spent much of his time in contemplation but he was also an active Friar, especially in the ministry of the word, as an irresistible Preacher.

He travelled the Marches, captivating the crowds with his sacred eloquence. He had the gift of moving sinners, who through a good Confession, repented offering penances for their sins and were brought back to God.

His ecstasies and visions are well-known and documented. In Ancona the Blessed Peter while he was immersed in prayer before the Crucifix, placed on the main Altar of the Church, rose from the ground in ecstasy with his whole body and went to kiss the feet of the Lord Crucified. Later in the Convent of Forano, it was Pietro who saw a wonderful scene, in which the Madonna affectionately placed the Divine Baby Jesus on the loving arms of his brother Corrado da Offida.

Blessed Pietro died in the Convent of Sirolo on 19 February 1304, at the age of 79. Pope Pius VI, on 11 September 1793 approved the cult and Beatified him..

Posted in "Follow Me", GOD ALONE!, GOD is LOVE, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PURITY, QUOTES on PURITY of INTENTION, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on THE WORLD, SAINT of the DAY, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The HEART, The WILL of GOD

Quote/s of the Day – 13 February – Three Points on the Spiritual Life By St Catherine de Ricci

Quote/s of the Day – 13 February – Septuagesima Sunday and the Memorial of Saint Catherine de Ricci OP (1522-1590) Virgin, Mystic, Stigmatist.

Three Points on the Spiritual Life
By St Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590)
1) Detach 2) Direct 3) Accomplish

Letter to a Fellow Nun
by St Catherine de Ricci

Very dear daughter, I have already sent you a letter to exhort you to the service of our Lord and now, I send you this one, in which I am going to give—first for myself and then for you—an account of the true way of faithfullyserving our Divine Spouse and a resume of the spiritual life, so that, by following it, we shall carry out the Holy Will of God.

If, then, my daughter, you would be the true spouses of Jesus, you must do His Holy Will in all things and you will do this, if you entirely give up your own will on every occasion and if you love the divine Spouse with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole strength. Then, you must carefully attend to the following points (but it is necessary to weigh all these words), as they contain the summary of Christian perfection:

  1. We must force ourselves to DETACH the heart and the will from all earthly love; to love no fleeting things, except for the love of God and, above all, not to love God for our own sakes, for self-interest but with a love as pure as His own goodness.
  2. We must DIRECT all our thoughts, words and actions to His honour and by prayer, counsel and good example, seek His glory solely, whether for ourselves or for others, so that through our means, all may love and honour God.
    This second point is more pleasing to Him than the first, as it better fulfils His will.
  3. We must aim more and more at the ACCOMPLISHMENT of the Divine Will – not only desiring nothing special to happen to us, bad or even good, in this wretched life and thus, keeping ourselves always at God’s disposal, with heart and soul at peace but also, believing, with a firm faith, that Almighty God loves us more than we love ourselves and takes more care of us, than we could take care of ourselves.

The more we conform to this way of acting, the more we shall find God present to help us and the more we shall experience, His most gentle love.
But no-one can reach such perfection except by constant and courageous sacrifice of self-will and, if we would learn to practice such abnegation, it is necessary to keep ourselves in a state of great and deep humility, so that, by perfect knowledge of our own misery and weakness, we may rise to learn the greatness and beauty of our God.

Consider how just and necessary it is, to serve Him unceasingly, with love and obedience.
I say just, because, God being Father and Master of all things, it is just that His Son and Servant, should obey and love Him.
I say necessary because,, by acting otherwise, we could not be saved.

Let us always remember, never doubting, that it is the Eternal, Sovereign, All-powerful God, Who does, orders, or allows, everything that happens and that nothing comes to pass, without His Divine Will.

Let us remember that He is Himself that Wisdom, which, in the government of the universe – of heaven, earth and every single creature – cannot be deceived. (He would be neither God nor most wise, if it were otherwise). Let us look upon Him as supremely good, loving and beneficent.

If, through His Mercy, this conviction becomes strongly impressed upon our wills, we shall easily take all things from His Sacred Hand, with well-contented hearts, always thanking Him for fulfilling His most holy will in us. By acting thus. (with the help of His holy grace) we shall unite ourselves to Him, by true love in this life and by glory in eternity.

May He grant it to us in His goodness! Of your charity pray for me, a wretched sinner, who commends herself to you all.”

Your sister in Christ,
Amen
Catherine

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 February – Saint Catherine de Ricci OP (1522-1590)

Saint of the Day – 13 February – Saint Catherine de Ricci OP (1522-1590) Virgin, Tertiary of the Order of Preachers, Mystic, Stigmatist, Ecstatic, Counsellor to many in both secular and spiritual matters, a highly admired Administrator and Advisor,blessed with many mystical charism including visions of Christ, both as a Baby and Adult, bilocation and miracles. Born as Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de’ Ricci in Florence on 23 April 1522 and died on 2 February 1590 (aged 67) at Prato, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, of natural causes. Patronage – the sick. Her body is incorrupt.

The Roman Martyrology states of her today: “At Prato, in Tuscany, St Catherine de Ricci, a Florentine Virgin of the Order of St Dominic, replenished with her heavenly gifts, whom Pope Benedict XIV inscribed on tbe catalogue of holy Virgins. She died in virtues and merits, on the 2nd of this month but her festival is celebrated on this day, 13th.”

The Ricci are an ancient family, which still subsists in a flourishing condition in Tuscany today. Alessandra was born in Florence to Pier Francesco de’ Ricci, of a patrician family and his wife, Caterina Bonza, who died soon after the birth of Alessandra. At age 6 or 7, her father enrolled her in a school run by a Monastery of Benedictine Nuns in the Monticelli quarter of the City, near their home and the City gates, where her Aunt, Luisa de’ Ricci, was the Abbess.

Catherine was a devout and pious child and it was here, in the Convent of her Aunt, that she developed a lifelong devotion to the Passion of Christ. After a short time back at home and after finally persuading her father,, at the age of 14, she entered the Convent of St Vincent in Prato, Tuscany, a cloistered community of religious sisters of the Third Order of St Dominic, disciples of the noted Dominican Friar Girolamo Savonarola, who followed the strict regimen of life she desired. In May 1535 she received the religious habit from her uncle, Timoteo de’ Ricci, who was Confessor to the Convent and the religious name of Catherine, after the Dominican tertiary, St Catherine of Siena.

Her novitiate was a time of trial. She would experience ecstasies during her routine, which caused her to seem asleep during community prayer , dropping plates and food, so much so, that the community began to question her competence, if not her sanity. Eventually, the other Sisters became aware of the spiritual basis for her behaviour. By the age of 30 she had risen to the post of Prioress.

After the recovery of her health, which seemed miraculous, she studied more perfectly to die to her senses and to advance in a penitential life and spirit, in which God had begun to conduct her, by practising the greatest austerities which were compatible with the obedience she had professed; – she fasted two or three days a week on bread and water alone and sometimes passed the whole day without taking any nourishment and chastised her body with disciplines and a sharp iron chain which she wore next her skin. Her obedience, humility and meekness were still more admirable than her spirit of penance. Much of penitential practice and oblation of her sufferings, were directed to the succour of the Souls in Purgatory.

It was by profound humility and perfect interior self-denial that she learned to vanquish in her heart, the sentiments or life of the first Adam – that is, of corruption, sin and inordinate self-love. But this victory over herself,and purgation of her affections, was completed by a perfect spirit of prayer. By the union of her soul with God and the establishment of the absolute reign of His love in her heart, she was dead to and disengaged from, all earthly things. Her visions became most vivid allowing her to hold Baby Jesus dressed in swaddling clothes and to be mystically married and united with adult Jesus. Catherine’s meditations on the Passion of Christ were so deep, that she spontaneously bled, as if scourged. She also bore the Stigmata. During times of deep prayer, like Catherine of Siena, her Patron Saint, a coral ring representing her marriage to Christ, appeared on her finger.

Crowds gathered to witness her prayer and ecstasies and it began to distract from the life of the Convent. Catherine herself was embarrassed by all the attention. The community prayed that her wounds and experience would lessen in intensity so that they could go about the work of their common life together in peace and in 1554 the visions ceased.

As the Prioress, Catherine developed into an effective and greatly admired administrator. She was an advisor on various topics to Princes, Bishops and Cardinals. She corresponded with three figures who were destined to become Popes: Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII and Pope Leo XI. An expert on religion, management and administration, her advice was widely sought. She gave counsel both in person and through exchanging letters. It is reported that she was extremely effective in her work, managing her priorities with great zeal and efficiency.

One of the miracles that was documented for her Canonisation was her appearance many hundreds of miles away from where she was physically located, in a vision to St Philip Neri, a resident of Rome, with whom she had maintained a long-term correspondence. St Philip, who was otherwise very reluctant to discuss miraculous events, confirmed the event.

Catherine lived in the Convent until her death in 1590 after a prolonged illness. Her remains are visible under the Altar of the Minor Basilica of Santi Vicenzo e Caterina de’ Ricci, Prato, which is next to the Convent associated with her life..

The Minor Basilica of Santi Vicenzo e Caterina de’ Ricci, Prato, Italy

Catherine was Beatified by Pope Clement XII in 1732 and Canonised by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746 in a spectacular ceremony for which a magnificent ‘canopy’ was constructed. In celebration of the Saint’s Canonisation, Domenico Maria Sandrini wrote an authorative biography of the new Saint.

Posted in AUGUSTINIANS OSA, DOMINICAN OP, INCORRUPTIBLES, LENT, LENT 2022, MARIAN TITLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Septuagesima Sunday, Notre-Dame de Pellevoisin / Our Lady of Pellevoisin, France (1876) and Memorials of the Saints – 13 February

Septuagesima Sunday:
The word Septuagesima is Latin for “seventieth.” It is both the name of the liturgical season and the name of the Sunday. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the shortest Liturgical season. This season is seventeen (17) days long and includes the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The length of the season never changes but the start date is dependent on the movable date of Easter, which can fall between 22 March-25 April. Septuagesima Sunday can be as early as 18 January.
The Septuagesima season helps the faithful ease into Lent. It is a gradual preparation for the serious time of penance and sorrow; to remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors and to exhort him to penance.
Liturgically it looks very much like Lent. The Gloria and Alleluia are omitted, the tone becomes penitential with the Priest wearing purple vestments. The main difference is that there are no fasting requirements.

Mother of Mercy, Notre-Dame de Pellevoisin / Our Lady of Pellevoisin, France (1876) – 13 February:
HERE:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/02/13/mother-of-mercy-our-lady-of-pellevoisin-france-1876-and-memorials-of-the-saints-13-february/

St Adolphus of Osnabruk
St Aimo of Meda

Blessed Archangela Girlani O Carm (1460-1494) Virgin, Carmelite Nun, Mystic with the gift of levitation.
Her Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/13/saint-of-the-day-13-february-blessed-archangela-girlani-o-carm-1460-1494/

Bl Beatrix of Ornacieux
St Benignus of Todi
Bl Berengar of Assisi
St Castor of Karden
St Catherine de Ricci OP (1522-1590) Virgin, Tertiary of the Order of Preachers, Mystic, Stimatist. Her body is incorrupt.

Blessed Christine of Spoleto OSA (1435-1458) Widow, mother, religious nun of the Order of Saint Augustine.
About Blessed Christine:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/13/saint-of-the-day-13-february-blessed-christine-of-spoleto-osa-1435-1458/

St Dyfnog
St Ermenilda of Ely
Bl Eustochium of Padua OSB (1444-1469) Virgin

St Fulcran of Lodève (Died 1006) Bishop of Lodève, Reformer, especially within the clergy and religious orders, builder of many Churches, Convents and Hospitals, apostle of the poor and needy, miracle-worker.
St Futeran’s Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/02/13/saint-of-the-day-13-february-saint-fulcran-of-lodeve-died-1006-bishop/

St Fusca of Ravenna
St Gilbert of Meaux
St Gosbert of Osnabruck
St Pope Gregory II
St Guimérra of Carcassone
St Huno

Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237) Religious Priest, Preacher, the Second Master-General of the Order of Preachers, after St Dominic.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/saint-of-the-day-13-february-blessed-jordan-of-saxony-o-p-1190-1237/

St Julian of Lyon
St Lucinus of Angers
St Marice
St Martinian the Hermit
St Maura of Ravenna
St Modomnoc
St Paulus Lio Hanzuo
St Peter I of Vercelli
St Phaolô Lê Van Loc
St Stephen of Lyons
St Stephen of Rieti

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS, QUOTES "CARPE DIEM" - Seize the Day

Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Gabriel Ferretti OFM (1385-1456)

Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Gabriel Ferretti OFM (1385-1456) Priest, Friar of the Order of Friars Minor,, Provincial Superior, Mystic. renowned missionary Preacher. He was zealous in the restoration and establishment of new Convents. Born in 1385 at Ancona, Italy and died on 12 November 1456 in Ancona, Piceno, Italy of natural causes. He was an ancestor to both Cardinal Gabriele Ferretti and Blessed Pope Pius IX, having been descended from a long noble lineage. Patronage – Ancona. His body is incorrupt.

Gabriel was born in 1385 and belonged to the ancient ducal family of the Ferretti. His devout parents raised him in the fear of God and in his eighteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order. His efforts at acquiring virtue won for him so great a degree of the respect and confidence of his brethren that, shortly after his Ordination to the Priesthood, when he was only twenty-five years old, he was appointed to preach missions in the March of Ancona. For fifteen years he devoted himself to this important task with blessed success.

He was then assigned to the office of Guardian of the Convent of Ancona and later he was elected Provincial of the Province of the March. In both offices he was careful to guide his subjects well. He shirked no labour and he could be very severe if it was necessary to correct an evil. He achieved the greatest results, however, by his own bright example of virtue, which induced weak and lax characters to exert themselves manfully in observing the rule.

His reputation for preaching to the masses was noted to the point, where Giacomo della Marca – who was preaching in Bosnia – asked for his help in that task. But the Ancona council in their deliberations on 22 February 1438 passed a resolution asking Pope Eugene IV to ensure the Friar remained in Ancona, due to all his good works. The Pope accepted this request, which meant that Gabriel could not go to Bosnia to aid his friend.

The following incident is proof of his great humility and piety. Once while he was journeying to Assisi, he went into the Franciscan Church at Foligno to pray. The Sacristan, who took him for a Brother, bade him serve the Mass of a Priest who had just gone to the Altar. The humble Provincial obeyed but when the guardian of the Convent recognised the venerable Superior of the Province of the March, in the server, he severely reproached the Sacristan. Father Gabriel defended the Sacristan, saying:

To serve Mass is a great privilege. The Angels would consider themselves honoured. So do not blame the Brother for conferring that honour on me!

Gabriel’s zeal to promote the interests of the Order was as great as his humility. At San Severino he restored a Convent that had fallen into ruin. At Osimo he built a new Convent. The Convent at Ancona he enlarged, in order to accommodate the great number of novices attracted to it by the fame of his sanctity.

Blessed Gabriel Ferretti possessed an ardent love of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and he unwittingly gave expression to it, in all his sermons. Frequently he was favoured with visions of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin.

Rich in virtue and merits, Blessed Gabriel Ferretti died on 12 November 1456, in the Convent at Ancona, assisted in his last hour by the servant of God Gregory of Alba, and St James of the March. The latter delivered his funeral oration. To this day his body is incorrupt and the many miracles wrought through his intercession have increased the devotion of the faithful to him. On 19 September 1753 Pope Benedict XIV solemnly confirmed his veneration.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 June – Blessed Marie of Oignies (1167-1213)

Saint of the Day – 23 June – Blessed Marie of Oignies (1167-1213) Recluse, Mystic, Ascetic, chastely married in continence, spiritual advisor., gifted with supernatural insight and prophesy. Marie had a deep devotion to the Passion, the Blessed Virgin and for the Souls in Purgatory, for whom she offered many prayers and penances. Born in 1167 at Nivelles, Diocese of Liege, Belgium and died n 23 June 1213 of natural causes. Patronages – against fever, of women in labour . Also known as Mary, Maria, Mariam. Miriam.

Marie of Oignies was born of very wealthy parents. But while still very young, she rejected everything childish or vain — games, beautiful clothing, ornaments. At the age of fourteen, despite her desire to be a nun, she was obliged to marry a virtuous young lord. Her holy life caused admiration in her spouse and decided him to follow her examples and together they resolved to practice continence for life, to distribute their wealth to the poor and consecrate themselves to works of piety. The demon tried every artifice to make them relent in their holy resolution but failed. They drew down on themselves the most abundant blessings, as well as sarcasms and insults from the worldly.

Marie had the gift of tears and could not look at a Crucifix without breaking into a torrent of tears or being ravished in ecstasy. When a Priest told her to cease these exhibitions, she asked God to make him understand that it was not possible for a creature to arrest tears which the Holy Spirit obliges to well up. And the Priest, that same day while saying his Mass, began to shed so many tears that the Altar cloths and his vestments, were wet with them.

She had a great devotion to Saint John the Evangelist and conversed with him, as well as with her Guardian Angel. By vision and revelation, she often knew the temptations and secrets of the hearts of the persons who consulted her. She converted many, obtained graces by her prayers for the living and especially for the dead, for whom she offered prayers and sacrifices and suffered various illnesses with invincible patience. Her many visitors made her life of contemplation difficult and she decided to change her residence; her husband permitted her to go to Oignies, where she lived in retreat amidst her heavenly favours and conversations.

She saw the place destined for her in heaven and gave up her holy soul surrounded by angelic songs of bliss. The faithful who had addressed her, were so impressed with the value of her intercession, that her relics became the object of great respect. Buried at Oignies, her remains in 1609 were placed in a silver reliquary in its Parish Church of Our Lady; in 1817 they were transferred to the Church of Saint Nicolas at Nivelle, near her birthplace.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 June – Blessed Anna Maria Taigi O.SS.T. (1769-1837)

Saint of the Day – 9 June – Blessed Anna Maria Taigi O.SS.T. (1769-1837) Secular Religious of The Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives – known as the Trinitarians, Married laywoma, Mystic. Born on 29 May 1769 at Siena, Italy as Anna Maria Gianetti and died on 9 June 1837 at Rome, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Housewives,Mothers,Victims of verbal abuse, Victims of spousal abuse,Families,Trinitarian tertiaries. Also known as – Anne Marie Gesualda Antonia Taigi, Anna Maria Taigi, Anne Marie Gianetti. Her body incorrupt.

Hailing from Siena, Italy, Taigi’s family moved to Rome when her pharmacist father needed to find employment after financial ruin. Poverty, although unchosen then, later in life would be embraced as one of her defining characteristics.

Unsure of her vocation as a young woman, Taigi considered religious life but because she was too ambivalent to it, a confessor suggested marriage. Her future husband’s path crossed hers while both were engaged in service work in the homes of Italian nobility. Domenico Taigi was a rough and tumble man, prone to making life difficult for those around him in word and deed. And his wife got the brunt of his temperament. But Taigi softened him, showing love when least expected. A hardened heart, almost assuredly will melt over time from love’s gentleness — such as an unwarranted smile. Taigi models how one takes seriously the marriage vows as a means to one’s own sanctification and growth in holiness.

This self-denial for which Anna Maria became known was not always what defined her. In the early years of their marriage, her life was marked by vanity and luxury. It has been disputed that she engaged in an adulterous affair.

But a conversion experience led Anna Maria to embrace a Gospel way of life that came to define her life. Baptised the day after her birth, Anna Maria’s faith had not blossomed until after her marriage. A chance encounter with a Priest in S. Peter’s Square prompted her to subsequently make a fruitful Confession, in which she renounced the life of worldly priorities which she had been living. That night, Taigi had been moved by an inner voice that said God desired more from her. Her husband described years later, how, as a first step in this new life, his wife “took to wearing the plainest possible clothes,” noting ,that, in obedience to her spouse, she asked for his consent. He gave it completely, he said, for he saw “she was entirely given to the love of God.”

All this had kept her from giving her all to Christ, which took place while in prayer before a Crucifix. She heard Jesus ask from the Cross, “What is your wish? To follow Jesus poor and naked and stripped of all, or to follow Him in His triumph and glory? Which do you choose?” To which she replied, “I embrace the Cross of my Jesus. I will carry it like Him in pain and ignominy. I wait at His hands, triumph and glory in the hereafter.”

Single-minded dedication to Christ, defined the rest of Anna Maria’s life, which was a constant display of the closeness to Christ she experienced in the Sacrament. She worked to serve Christ in the sick and poor as a Third Order Trinitarian ,while keeping up with the duties of a wife and mother. A gift of prophesying the future was the spiritual fruit of visions and ecstasies — all the more incredible that this came to an ordinary housewife, not the likes of a cloistered nun. Her prophetic abilities caused her to become sought after by many notable figures, including Napoleon’s Mother and the Pope. Anna Maria became acquainted with Cardinal Luigi Ercolani, and Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti ,who would become Blessed Pope Pius IX. Pope Pius VII often asked St Vincent Strambi , the Priest who had assisted her in her convesion, how she was doing and would send his blessings to her. Pope Leo XII and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Menocchio both held her in high esteem Anna Maria composed a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pedicini took this prayer to Pius VII who, in a rescript on 6 March 1809, granted an indulgence. For 100 days, those who recited it, a plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions.

Anna Maria attended the 1825 Jubilee which Pope Leo XII had summoned. She knew of the latter Pope’s ill health. Before he died, in 1829, she saw the morning sun and prayed for him. She heard a heavenly voice say, “Arise and pray. My Vicar is on the point of coming to render an account to Me.” Pope Leo’s successor Pope Pius VIII lived in the shadow of ill health. Anna Maria foresaw his death and prayed for his soul as she did with his predecessor. She had predicted the pontificate of Pius VIII would be a short one.

She successfully foresaw that Cardinal Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari would be elected as Pope Gregory XVI. Before Pius VIII died, Anna Maria went to San Paolo fuori le Mura. When Cappellari arrived she fixed her eyes on him When she was asked why she was doing this, she frankly responded, “That is the future Pope.”

On 24 October 1836, Anna Maria fell ill. She was confined to her bed and would never rise again. On 2 June 1837, her fever slightly declined but a few days later, her fever rose again. On 5 June she bid farewell to those who visited her bedside. On 8 June she received the last rites of Extreme Unction.

Ana Maria received the Viaticum and the Anointing of the Sick from the local curate. On 9 June 1837, at 4 a.m., she died. Pedicini sent a letter at once to Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi to inform him of her death. Anna Maria’s remains were exposed until 11 June in the Church of Santa Maria in Via Lata. She was buried at Campo Verano where, on the orders of Pope Gregory XVI, her remains were enclosed in a leaden sepulcher with seals affixed to it. Cardinal Odescalchi asked her Confessor to compile all documents so that her biography could be published.

Upon her death in 1837, the future St Vincent Pallotti praised her holiness. This was reiterated by Venerable Bernardo Clausi who said, “If she is not in heaven, there is no room there for anybody.” She was Beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 30 May 1920.

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 20 May – Blessed Columba of Rieti OP (1467- 1501)

Saint of the Day – 20 May – Blessed Columba of Rieti OP (1467- 1501) religious Sister of the Third Order of St Dominic, Mystic, Apostle of the poor, renowned for her spiritual counsel, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and fantastic miracles were attributed to her. Born on 2 February 1467 at Rieti, Umbria, Italy as Angelella Guardagnoli and died on 20 May 1501 at Perugia, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Against sorcery, against temptation, Perugia, Italy. Also known as – Angelella Guardagnoli, Colomba of Rieti.

Columba was the daughter of a poor family in the Umbrian city of Rieti. When she was born, angels gathered around her house, singing and during her Baptism, a dove flew down to the font. From then on, no-one referred to her as Angelella but as Columba , which means “dove”.

From infancy Columba led a supernatural life. She strewed her little bed with thorns and from an old sieve ,plaited a hair-shirt. As a small girl, Columba learned to spin and sew, repairing the clothes of the local Dominican Friars. She was educated by Dominican nuns. The Holy Eucharist formed her one desire and almost her sole nourishment. Hunger, thirst, sleep and the other needs of nature, not only never tormented her but she lived unconscious of them.

As a teenager, she prayed to discern her vocation in life and received a vision of Christ on a Throne surrounded by Saints. She took this as a sign to dedicate herself to God and so, she made a private vow of chastity and spent her time in prayer. When it was revealed that her parents had arranged a marriage for her, she cut off her hair and sent it to her suitor as a way of letting him know, where her real interest lay.

Columba became a Dominican Tertiary at age 19. She was given to ecstasies, during one of which, her spirit toured the Holy Land. She was much sought after as a spiritual counselor. Citizens from the City of Narni, tried to kidnap her so she could be their miracle worker but she escaped.

Upon an interior prompting that she should leave Rieti, Columba wandered away, having no concept of where she was going. Along the way she was arrested in Foligno as a vagrant. The Bishop there ordered her to go to Perugia and to found a Third Order Convent, which she did but only against the strong objections of the citizens of Foligno and Rieti, who wanted her for their own needs.

She worked with the poor extensively in Perugia, so much so, that her sanctity reportedly incensed Lucrezia Borgia for years. At one point Borgia had even issued a complaint accusing Columba of practising magic. On the other hand, Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia’s father, held Columba in high regard. He consulted her and she ordered him to repent of his sins.

If Columba’s reception of Holy Communion was delayed by but one hour, she fainted from exhaustion and her life seemed in danger. Her Confessor, fearing some delusion, asked her how she was able to live on the Blessed Sacrament alone. “When I receive this heavenly food,” she replied, “I feel so satisfied in soul and body that all desire for earthly food vanishes and I have a horror of it. I hope that before this year is over, God will give you a sign which will remove your doubts.” On Christmas-day, as this Priest finished his first Mass, he felt an unknown refreshment of soul. When he had said his third Mass, this heavenly love had reached such a height, that he felt it impossible to touch food and so remained fasting throughout the day. This was revealed to Columba, who said, “I rejoice, Father, that you have received my heavenly food and now know, by experience, how I can be satisfied by the Bread of angels alone!”

Columba spent eleven years as Prioress in Perugia, dying on 2 May 1501, at the age of 34. At the moment of her death, her friend and fellow Dominican Tertiary, Blessed Osanna of Mantua (1493-1565), saw Columba’s soul as a “radiance rising to heaven.”

The whole City attended her funeral, which was paid for by the City administrators.

She was Beatified on 25 February 1625 by Pope Urban VIII and her Feast day is celebrated within the Dominican Order on the anniversary of her death. As Patron of Perugia, she is highly venerated and Statues of her abound in the region.

Posted in "Follow Me", DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on JOY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The 2nd Glorius Mystery - The ASCENSION, The ASCENSION of the LORD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 13 May – ‘ … so we too, are already in heaven with Him …’

One Minute Reflection – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 1-8, Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, John 16: 16-20 and the Memorial of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic, “Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament”

“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” … John 16:20… John 16:16

REFLECTION – Today, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, let our hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle – If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as He remained with us even after His ascension, so we too, are already in heaven with Him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above – Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when He came down to us, nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth, is borne out by His own statement – No-one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. … Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity cannot be separated from the head” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church – An excerpt from his Sermon on the Lord’s Ascension

PRAYER – Almighty God, fill us with a holy joy, teach us how to thank You with reverence and love for the joy of the ascension of Christ Your on. You have raised us up with Him, where He the head has preceded us in glory, there we, the body, are called in hope. Grant, too we beg, that by Mary’s prayer and the prayer of Your loving child Blessed Imelda Lambertini, we may give You faithful service and spread abroad the glory of Your nameThrough Christ our Lord, i the unity of the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Father, God forever, amen.

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 27 April – Blessed Osanna of Cattaro OP (1493-1565)

Saint of the Day – 27 April – Blessed Osanna of Cattaro OP (1493-1565) Virgin, Mystic, Anchoress., Tertiary of the Order of St Dominic, spiritual guide. Born on 25 November 1493 at Kumano, Montenegro as Catherine Cosie and died on 27 April 1565 in Kotor, Montenegro of natural causes, aged 71. Patronage – Kotor, Montenegro. Also known as – Catherine Cosie, Catherine Kosic, Catherine of Montenegro, Hosanna of Kotor, Ossana of Cattaro, Ozana Kotorska, “Teacher of Mysticism,” “Angel of Peace,” “Virgin Reconciler”and “Trumpet of the Holy Spirit.” Her Body is incorrupt.

Over the course of her life, the people of Kotor came to call her “the trumpet of the Holy Spirit” and the “teacher of mysticism.” People from all walks of life came to her for advice and she interceded particularly ,for peace in the town and among feuding families. Therefore, she was also called “the Virgin Reconciler” and the “Angel of Peace.”

The life of this Blessed has a very special charm. Born in 1493 to very humble Orthodox parents in Kebeza, during the heart of the Greek schism, she was given the name of Catherine at her baptism.

This little shepherdess, enraptured by the beauty of the magnificent views of her Montenegro, she fell in love with the Creator of so many wonders and, with unusual ardour, sheasked Him to show Himself to her. And there, in the solitude of the mountains, Jesus appeared to her first, a tender child and then Crucified, imprinting an indelible seal on her virgin heart.

When she was a little older, she was placed in Kotor as a servant in the family of a Senator, an excellent Catholic. Here, she was able to educate herself in the true faith and to receive the Sacraments. Having known the Dominicans, at the age of twenty-two, she made a heroic decision: -to become a recluse forever, taking up the habit and the Rule of the Third Order of St Dominic.

With the Tertiary Habit, he also took the name of Osanna, in memory of another illustrious Tertiary, Blessed Osanna da Mantova OP (1449-1505)her life here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/06/18/saint-of-the-day-18-june-blessed-osanna-andreasi-op-1449-1505/ and more here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/06/18/art-dei-18-june-paintings-in-blessed-osanna-andreasis-house/

And so, walled up in a cell next to the Church of St Paolo, run by the Dominicans, she lived in the contemplation of the pains of Jesus and in the complete immolation of herself. She was also a teacher of holiness to countless souls but above all she was the guardian angel of Kotor. Although she lived alone, there was nothing selfish about Osanna’s spirituality. A group of her Dominican sisters, who considered her their leader, consulted her frequently and sought her prayers. A convent of sisters founded at Cattaro, regarded her as their foundress,because of her spiritual guidance and prayers, although she never saw the place. When the City was attacked by the Turks, the people ran to her for help and they credited their deliverance to her prayers. Another time, her prayers saved them from the plague.

She died on 27 April 1565. Her body rests in the Church of Santa Maria in Kotor.

The incorrupt body of Osanna was kept in the Church of St Paul until 1807, when the French Army converted the church into a warehouse. Her body was then brought to the Church of St Mary. The people of Kotor venerated her as a saint. In 1905, the process for her Beatification began in Kotor and was successfully completed in Rome. On 21 December 1927, Pope Pius XI approved her cultus, invoking its intercession for Christian unity and in 1934, he formally Beatified her.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Fursey (Died c 650)

Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Fursey (Died c 650) Irish Missionary Monk, Abbot who did much to establish Christianity in the British Isles and in France, Mystic, whose visions played a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death. St Fursey is one of the Four Comely Saints – a collective name for Saints Fursey, Brendan of Birr, Conall and Berchán, at their burial place on Inishmore a Church was built in the fifteenth-century and dedicated to them. Born in c567 at Munster, Ireland and died in c 648 at Mezerolles, France. Also known as Fursey of peronne, Fursey of Lagny, Fursa, Furseo, Furse, Fursae, Fursu, Fulsey, Furseus. Patronage – Peronne, France.

Fursey was born in Ireland in the closing years of the 6th century. as the son of an Irish Prince and was baptised by St Brendan the Traveller, his father’s uncle. He early showed desire and aptitude to study the Sacred Scriptures and his growth in the faith was matched only by a monastic discipline of life. In his early twenties he received visions that focussed his life on the urgency of preaching the Good News of Christ. His visions were also to play a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death and God’s continuing desire to show love and forgiveness. Fursey’s visions are among the first major accounts of a journey of a soul in the other world to be composed in the early medieval period.

For the next decade Fursey went around Ireland and his preaching was powerful. But his growing popularity disturbed him for he wished people to focus on Christ. Already a Monk, he went with some monastic companions on retreat to a small Irish island to seek guidance. The desire to become ‘a pilgrim for the love of God’ grew stronge, and the group left Ireland, never to return.

Fursey and his companions journeyed to England, where Sigebert – the new and Christian King of East Anglia – had returned from exile in 630 with a desire to share his new faith with his new subjects. Sigebert welcomed Fursey and his group and allowed them to base themselves at Cnobheresburgh (which has been traditionally identified as the Roman Fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth). Becoming ill, Fursey fell into a trance and, according to St Bede, left his body from evening till cock-crow and was found worthy to behold the chorus of angels in Heaven. Fursey’s visions of Heaven and Hell, experienced throughout his life and widely recounted, are thought to have inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. After almost a decade in East Anglia Fursey felt called to continue his missionary pilgrimage.

Going to France, he was received by King Clovis II and his leading official Earconwald. With their blessing he founded a Monastery at Lagny-sur-Marne (east of Paris). His journeys continued and many Churches in Picardy are dedicated to him.

He died at Mézerolles c 648. His body lay unburied and unsullied by decay and emitting a sweet odour for thirty days pending the Dedication of the Church and was during that time, visited by pilgrims from all parts. Finally, he was buried in a Church (built specially by Earconwald) in Peronne which has claimed him as Patron ever since. Four years later his still incorrupt body was moved to a new shrine east of the altar. At nearby Mont St Quentin, an Abbey was founded in his honour, which became such a great centre for pilgrims that Peronne was known as ‘Peronne Scottorum’ (Peronne of the Irish). In its scriptorium one of the Monks wrote the Vita of Fursey, which tells us so much about him. The Vita has the vitality and insights that come from an eyewitness account, making it of especial value.

It was this almost contemporary Life, that the Venerable St Bede drew on, in his “History of the English Church and People” (iii,19). St Bede obviously admired Fursey deeply. “He was renowned” wrote St Bede “for his words and doing, and was outstanding in virtue.” “Inspired by the example of his goodness and the effectiveness of his teaching,” St Bede went on, “many unbelievers were converted to Christ and those who already believed, were drawn to greater love and faith in him.” St Bede wrote, as he himself said, so that his readers would understand “how great a man Fursey was.” It is a view echoed by writers of our own day who place Fursey as the most influential Irish Missionary in Europe, after his predecessor Columbanus . Fursey’s Visions were to play a pivotal role in the Western Church’s developing understanding of the world to come.

Monument to St Fursey in Peronne
Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, SAINT of the DAY, The HEART

One Minute Reflection – 13 January – He heals without charge!

One Minute Reflection – 13 January – Readings: Hebrews 2:14-18, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:29-39 and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church and Blessed

That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick, or oppressed by demons. – Mark 1:32

REFLECTION – “Let us set before our interior consideration someone gravely wounded who is about to breathe his last. … Now, the soul’s wound is sin, of which Scripture speaks in these terms: “Wound and welt and gaping gash, not drained or bandaged or eased with salve” (Is 1:6). Oh you who are wounded, recognise your physician within you and show Him the wounds of your sins. May He understand your heart’s groaning Who already knows its secret thoughts. May your tears move Him. Go as far as a little shamelessness in your beseeching (cf. Lk 11:8). Ceaselessly bring forth deep sighs to Him from the depth of your heart.

May your grief reach Him so that He may say to you also : “The Lord has pardoned your sin” (2 Sam 12:13). Cry out with David, who said: “Have mercy on me, O God, in (…) the greatness of your compassion” (Ps 50[51]:3). It is as though one were to say: “I am in great danger because of an enormous wound, that no doctor can cure, unless the all-powerful Physician comes to help me.” For this all-powerful Physician, nothing is incurable. He heals without charge! With one word He restores to health! I would have despaired of my wound were it not, that I placed my trust in the Almighty.” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Psalm 50[51]

PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Hilary and Bl Veronica were shining examples to us all, grant, we pray, that their prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 January – Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497)

Saint of the Day – 13 January – Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Nun of the Order of St Augustine, Mystic, endowed with the gifts of prophecy and discernment- born as Giovanna Negroni in c 1445 at Binasco, Italy, a small village near Milan and died on 13 January 1497 in Milan, Italy of natural causes. Veronica of Binasco was known as a great contemplative who also gave loving care to sick sisters in her community and ministered to the people of Milan. Additional Memorial – 28 January (Augustinian calendar).

Veronica grew up in the small town of Binasco, Italy, not far from Milan. She and her family were poor and she worked with her mother and father, doing chores and in the fields. Her parents set their daughter on the path to Christian virtues, as it was said that her father was a scrupulously honest man, never selling a horse without first disclosing its faults or imperfections to the buyer. As she developed a desire for saintliness and perfection, she became tired of the joking and songs of her companions, even hiding her head and weeping as she worked.

Having no formal education, she attempted, unsuccessfully, to teach herself to read. While making this effort one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to Veronica, telling her that while some of her pursuits were necessary, her reading was not. Instead, the Virgin taught her in the form of three mystical letters:

The first signified purity of intention; the second, abhorrence of murmuring or criticism; the third, daily meditation on the Passion. By the first she learned to begin her daily duties for no human motive but for God alone; by the second, to carry out what she had thus begun by attending to her own affairs, never judging her neighbour but praying for those who manifestly erred; by the third she was enabled to forget her own pains and sorrows in those of her Lord and to weep hourly but silently, over the memory of His wrongs. – Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints.

Veronica became accustomed to nearly constant apparitions and religious ecstasies. She saw scenes from the life of Christ, yet these never interrupted her work. She joined an Augustinian lay order at the convent of Saint Martha in Milan at the age of 22. She took the religious name Veronica, reflecting her devotion to the Passion of Christ.This community was very poor; Veronica’s job was to beg in the streets of the city for food.

She was known and respected by the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of her day. Several times Christ gave to her in prayer important messages which she carried to influential persons, such as the Duke of Milan and Pope Alexander VI.

Her spiritual life was intense. She was particularly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Suffering and Death of Jesus. She experienced physical mistreatment from the devil but found strength in prayer, remaining at peace and overcoming difficulties through the power of Christ. She cheerfully helped others when help was needed. In spite of her growing reputation for holiness and wisdom, Veronica remained humble.

After a six-month illness, Veronica died on the date she had predicted, 13 January 1497. So numerous were her admirers who came to pay their respects, her burial was delayed for nearly a week. Many sick persons who touched her body were restored to health. Her remains are preserved at the parish Church in Binasco.

Death of St Veronica of Milan, from the Church of Binasco

She was Beatified in 1517 by Pope Leo X (cultus confirmed). In 1672, Pope Clement X extended the devotion to the entire Augustinian Order and in 1749 Pope Benedict XIV added Blessed Vernoica to the Roman Martyrology.

Painting by the Belgian artist François-Joseph Navez (1787-1869). painted in 1816
Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN TITLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Panny Marie Vítězné / Our Lady of Victory, Prague and Memorials of the Saints – 13 January

Panny Marie Vítězné / Our Lady of Victory, Prague, Czech Republic (1620), home of the Infant of Prague: 13 January:
Among shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, that at Prague has become world-famous because it is also the home of the Statue of the Infant of Prague.

The story of the Shrine is an unusual one. In 1620 the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand II and Prince Maxmilian of Bavaria gained a major victory over a coalition of Protestant armies in the battle of the White Mountains near Prague. The previous day, Fr Dominic of Jesus-Maria, a Discalced Carmelite, had found, in the castle of Strakowicz, a picture representing the nativity of Christ. It showed the Blessed Virgin kneeling before her Divine Son, while St Joseph stood behind her holding a lantern. In the background were two shepherds. The Calvanists had shown their fanaticism, by piercing the eyes of Mary and her spouse, St Joseph.
Carrying the picture to the camp, the Monk held it up and urged the soldiers to restore Mary’s honour. His words decided the hesitation of the generals and gave courage to the men. They adopted Mary’s name as their battle cry and Mary blessed their efforts. In the moment of success, they hailed the painting as Our Lady of Victory and carried it in triumph into Prague, where their leaders adorned it with rich jewels.
In gratitude to God for his great success and in recognition of the help given by Father Dominic, Ferdinand II founded several Carmelite Monasteries, including one at Prague which was solemnly blessed under invocation of Our Lady of Victory.
Before this time, however, Father Dominic had taken the picture of Our Lady of Victory to Rome where it was first venerated in the Basilica of St Mary Major, then carried – in the presence of Pope Gregory XV – to the Church of St Paul near the Carmelite convent, on 8 May 1622. Pope Paul V subsequently changed the name of the Church to Our Lady of Victory and the feast was officially inaugurated.
The original painting was destroyed in a fire in 1833 and has been replaced by a copy. Another copy hangs in the church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, in a building erected in 1706 replacing the earlier church.
From the Shrine of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, came to the entire world the devotion to the Infant of Prague.
Our need for Mary’s help continues as long as we live and so long, too, we need her guidance. The struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good, will continue until the end of time. The devil, whose intelligence and power exceed those we can command in our own right, has an acute appreciation of the value of our souls bought with a great price. Our sure way to defeat him, is to range ourselves under Mary’s banner, to call on her to bring us victory and to acknowledge her, as Our Lady of Victory when she protects us from dangers and brings us triumphant through temptation.

Shrine of Our Lady of Victory
The Altar of the Infant of Prague is right next to Our Lady of Victory’s Altar. I have been blessed to have visited here and to venerate both.


St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-st-hilary-of-poitiers-315-368-father-doctor-of-the-church/

St Agrecius of Trier
St Andrew of Trier
St Berno of Cluny
St Ðaminh Pham Trong Kham
St Designatus of Maastricht
St Elian of Brittany
St Emil Szramek
St Enogatus of Aleth
St Erbin of Cornwall
Blessed Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931)
Blessed Francesco’s Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-blessed-francesco-maria-greco-1857-1931/
Bl Francisca Inés Valverde González
St Giuse Pham Trong Ta
St Glaphyra
St Gumesindus of Córdoba
St Hermylus
Bl Hildemar of Arrouaise
Bl Ida of Argensolles
Bl Ivetta of Huy
St Kentigern “Mungo” of Glasgow (c 518-614)
About St Mungo:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-saint-kentigern-mungo-of-glasgow-518-614/
St Leontius of Caesarea
St Luca Pham Trong Thìn
Bl María Francisca Espejo y Martos
Bl Matteo de Lana
St Peter of Capitolíade
St Servusdei of Córdoba
St Stephen of Liège
St Stratonicus
Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Mystic
St Viventius
St Vivenzio of Blera

Forty Martyred Soldiers at Rome: Forty soldiers martyred in the persecutions of Gallienus.
They were martyred in 262 on the Via Lavicana, Rome, Italy.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 6 October

St Bruno O.Cart (c 1030-1101) Priest, Founder (Optional Memorial)
Biography of St Bruno:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/saint-of-the-day-6-october-st-bruno-c-1030-1101/

Bl Marie Rose Durocher SNJM (1811-1849) Founder (Optional Memorial)
Her Story:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/10/06/saint-of-the-day-6-october-blessed-marie-rose-durocher-s-n-j-m-1811-1849/

Blessed Adalbero of Lambach (c 1010–1090) Bishop
St Alberta of Agen
Bl Artaldo of Belley
St Aurea of Boves
St Ceollach
St Epiphania
St Erotis
St Faith of Agen
St Francis Trung Von Tran
Bl François Hunot
Bl Isidore of Saint Joseph
St Iwi
St John Xenos
Bl Juan de Prunera
St Magnus of Orderzo
St Mary Frances of the Five Wounds TOSF (1715-1791) Mystic, Stigmatist
Her Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/10/06/saint-of-the-day-6-october-saint-mary-frances-of-the-five-wounds-tosf-1715-1791/
St Pardulf
St Renato of Sorrento
St Romanus of Auxerre
St Sagar of Laodicea

Martyrs of Capua – 4 saints: A group of martyrs who were either killed in Capua, Italy, or that’s where their relics were first enshrined. We now know nothing but their names – Aemilius, Castus, Marcellus and Saturninus.

Martyrs of Kyoto – 52 beati: Fifty-two Japanese lay people, some single, some married, some parents, some children, who were martyred together during one of the government sponsored persecutions of Christians.

Martyrs of Trier: Commemorates the large number of martyrs who died in Trier, Germany in the persecutions of Diocletian. 287 in Trier, Germany.

Posted in INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS

Saint of the Day – 15 September – St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)

Saint of the Day – 15 September – St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) Married laywoman, Mystic, Apostle of the sick, the poor and the needy, Writer – born in 1447 at Genoa, Italy as Caterina Fieschi Adorno and died on 15 September 1510 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Brides, Childless People, Difficult Marriages, People Ridiculed For Their Piety, Temptations, Victims Of Adultery, Victims Of Unfaithfulness, Widow, Hospitals in Italy (declared by Venerable Pope Pius XII). Her body is incorrupt and rests in a glass reliquary at the Capuchin Church in Genoa.

Catherine was born in Genoa in 1447. She was the youngest of five. Her father, Giacomo Fieschi, died when she was very young. Her mother, Francesca di Negro provided such an effective Christian education that the elder of her two daughters became a religious. When Catherine was 16, she was given in marriage to Giuliano Adorno, a man who after various trading and military experiences in the Middle East had returned to Genoa in order to marry.

Married life was far from easy for Catherine, partly because of the character of her husband who was given to gambling. Catherine herself, was at first induced to lead a worldly sort of life in which, however, she failed to find serenity. After 10 years, her heart was heavy with a deep sense of emptiness and bitterness. A unique experience on 20 March 1473 sparked her conversion. She had gone to the Church of San Benedetto in the monastery of Nostra Signora delle Grazie [Our Lady of Grace], to make her confession and, kneeling before the Priest, “received,” as she herself wrote, “a wound in my heart from God’s immense love.” It came with such a clear vision of her own wretchedness and shortcomings and at the same time of God’s goodness, that she almost fainted.

Her heart was moved by this knowledge of herself — knowledge of the empty life she was leading and of the goodness of God. This experience prompted the decision that gave direction to her whole life. She expressed it in the words: “no longer the world, no longer sin” (cf. Vita Mirabile, 3rv). Catherine did not stay to make her Confession.
On arriving home she entered the remotest room and spent a long time weeping. At that moment she received an inner instruction on prayer and became aware of God’s immense love for her, a sinner. It was a spiritual experience she had no words to describe ( cf. Vita Mirabile, 4r).

It was on this occasion that the suffering Jesus appeared to her, bent beneath the Cross, as he is often portrayed in the Saint’s iconography. A few days later she returned to the Priest to make a good Confession at last. It was here, that began the “life of purification” which for many years caused her to feel constant sorrow for the sins she had committed and which spurred her to impose forms of penance and sacrifice upon herself, in order to show her love to God.

St Catherine of Genoa painted by artist Denys Savchenko. It resides in the St Catherine Church, Genoa, Italy.

On this journey Catherine became ever closer to the Lord until she attained what is called “unitive life,” namely, a relationship of profound union with God. In her Vita it is written, that her soul was guided and instructed from within, solely by the sweet love of God, which gave her all she needed. Catherine surrendered herself so totally into the hands of the Lord that she lived, for about 25 years, as she wrote, “without the assistance of any creature, taught and governed by God alone” (Vita, 117r-118r), nourished above all by constant prayer and by Holy Communion which she received every day, an unusual practice in her time. Only many years later did the Lord give her a Priest who cared for her soul.

Catherine was always reluctant to confide and reveal her experience of mystical communion with God, especially because of the deep humility she felt before the Lord’s graces. The prospect of glorifying Him and of being able to contribute to the spiritual journey of others, alone spurred her, to recount what had taken place within her, from the moment of her conversion, which is her original and fundamental experience.

The place of her ascent to mystical peaks was Pammatone Hospital, the largest hospital complex in Genoa, of which she was director and animator. Hence Catherine lived a totally active existence despite the depth of her inner life. In Pammatone a group of followers, disciples and collaborators formed around her, fascinated by her life of faith and her charity. Indeed her husband, Giuliano Adorno, was so so won over, that he gave up his dissipated life, became a Third Order Franciscan and moved into the hospital to help his wife.

Catherine’s dedication to caring for the sick continued until the end of her earthly life on 15 September 1510. From her conversion until her death there were no extraordinary events but two elements characterise her entire life – on the one hand her mystical experience, that is, the profound union with God, which she felt as spousal union and on the other, assistance to the sick, the organisation of the hospital and service to her neighbour, especially the neediest and the most forsaken. These two poles, God and neighbour, totally filled her life, virtually all of which she spent within the hospital walls.

Dear friends, we must never forget that the more we love God and the more constantly we pray, the better we will succeed in truly loving those who surround us, who are close to us, so that we can see in every person the Face of the Lord whose love knows no bounds and makes no distinctions. The mystic does not create distance from others or, an abstract life but, rather approaches other people, so that they may begin to see and act with God’s eyes and heart.

Catherine’s thought on purgatory, for which she is particularly well known, is summed up in the last two parts of the book mentioned above – The Treatise on Purgatory and the Dialogues between the body and the soul. The first original passage concerns the “place” of the purification of souls. In her day, it was depicted mainly using images linked to space – a certain space was conceived of, in which purgatory was supposed to be located. Catherine, however, did not see purgatory as a scene in the bowels of the earth – for her it is not an exterior but rather an interior fire. This is purgatory – an inner fire. The Saint speaks of the Soul’s journey of purification on the way to full communion with God, starting from her own experience of profound sorrow for the sins committed, in comparison with God’s infinite love (cf. Vita Mirabile, 171v).

We heard of the moment of conversion when Catherine suddenly became aware of God’s goodness, of the infinite distance of her own life from this goodness and of a burning fire within her. And this is the fire that purifies, the interior fire of purgatory. Here too, is an original feature in comparison with the thought of her time. In fact, she does not start with the afterlife in order to recount the torments of purgatory — as was the custom in her time and perhaps still is today — and then to point out the way to purification or conversion. Rather our Saint begins with the inner experience of her own life on the way to Eternity.

“The soul,” Catherine says, “presents itself to God, still bound to the desires and suffering that derive from sin and this makes it impossible for it to enjoy the beatific vision of God.” Catherine asserts that God is so pure and holy, that a soul stained by sin, cannot be in the presence of the Divine Majesty (cf. Vita Mirabile, 177r).

We too feel how distant we are, how full we are of so many things that we cannot see God. The soul is aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God and consequently, suffers for having failed to respond in a correct and perfect way to this love and, love for God itself, becomes a flame, love itself cleanses it from the residue of sin.

In Catherine we can make out the presence of theological and mystical sources on which it was normal to draw in her time. In particular, we find an image typical of Dionysius the Areopagite – the thread of gold that links the human heart to God Himself. When God purified man, he bound him with the finest golden thread, that is, His love and draws him toward Himself with such strong affection, that man i,s as it were “overcome and won over and completely beside himself.” Thus man’s heart is pervaded by God’s love that becomes the one guide, the one driving force of his life (cf. Vita Mirabile, 246rv). This situation of being uplifted towards God and of surrender to His will, expressed in the image of the thread, is used by Catherine to express the action of divine light on the souls in purgatory, a light that purifies and raises them to the splendour of the shining radiance of God (cf. Vita Mirabile, 179r).

With her life, St Catherine teaches us that the more we love God and enter into intimacy with Him in prayer the more He makes Himself known to us, setting our hearts on fire with His love. In writing about purgatory, the Saint reminds us of a fundamental truth of faith that becomes for us an invitation to pray for the deceased, so that they may attain the beatific vision of God in the Communion of Saints.

Moreover, the humble, faithful and generous service in Pammatone Hospital that the Saint rendered throughout her life, is a shining example of charity for all and an encouragement, especially for women who, with their precious work enriched by their sensitivity and attention to the poorest and neediest, make a fundamental contribution to society and to the Church.

Catherine’s writings were examined by the Holy Office and declared to contain doctrine that would alone be enough to prove her sanctity and she was accordingly Beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and Canonised in 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Her writings also, became sources of inspiration for other religious leaders such as Robert Bellarmine and Francis de Sales and Cardinal Henry Edward Manning. Pope Pius XII declared her Patroness of the hospitals in Italy.

When she died, her body was placed in a coffin in the Chapel of the hospital where she had served so selflessly. The wooden coffin unfortunately suffered water damage, yet after it was removed, a year later, the body itself was found to be incorrupt. Her body was later transferred to the Capuchin Convent Annunziata di Portoria, near the centre of Genoa and can be viewed by the public, in the Church attached to the Convent.

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY, SEPTEMBER-The SEVEN SORROWS of MARY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorial of The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Saints – 15 September

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)
About this Sorrowful Memorial:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/memorial-of-our-lady-of-sorrows-15-september/
AND here:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/09/15/memorial-of-our-lady-of-sorrows-15-september-2/

St Aichardus
St Albinus of Lyon
Bl Anton Maria Schwartz
St Aprus of Toul
St Bond of Sens
St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)

Bl Camillus Constanzo
St Emilas of Cordoba
St Eutropa of Auvergne
St Hernan
Bl Jacinto de Los Ángeles and Bl Juan Bautista
St Jeremias of Cordoba
St Joseph Abibos
St Mamillian of Palermo
St Melitina
St Mirin of Bangor
St Nicetas the Goth
St Nicomedes of Rome
Blessed Paolo Manna PIME (1872-1952) “A Burning Soul” Priest, Missionary
His Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/15/saint-of-the-day-15-september-blessed-paolo-manna-pime-1872-1952-a-burning-soul/

St Porphyrius the Martyr
St Ribert
St Ritbert of Varennes
Bl Rolando de Medici
Bl Tommasuccio of Foligno
St Valerian of Châlon-sur-Saône
St Valerian of Noviodunum
St Vitus of Bergamo
Bl Wladyslaw Miegon

Martyrs of Adrianopolis – 3 saints: Three Christian men martyred together in the persecutions of Maximian – Asclepiodotus, Maximus and Theodore. They were martyred in 310 at Adrianopolis (Adrianople), a location in modern Bulgaria.

Martyrs of Noviodunum – 4 saints: Three Christian men martyred together, date unknown – Gordian, Macrinus, Stratone and Valerian.
They were martyred in Noviodunum, Lower Moesia (near modern Isaccea, Romania).

Mercedarian Martyrs of Morocco – 6 beati: A group of six Mercedarians who were captured by Moors near Valencia, Spain and taken to Morocco. Though enslaved, they refused to stop preaching Christianity. Martyrs. – Dionisio, Francis, Ildefonso, James, John and Sancho. They were crucified in 1437 in Morocco.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Antonio Sierra Leyva
Bl Pascual Penades Jornet

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, QUOTES on VIRTUE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 July – St John Cassian & St Bridget of Sweden

Quote/s of the Day – 23 July – the Memorial of St John Cassian (c 360- c 435), St Bridget of Sweden (c 1303 – 1373)

“Whoever has achieved love
has God within himself
and his intellect is always with God.”

whoever has achieved love has god within himself - st john cassian 23 july 2020

“No structure of virtue
can possibly be raised in our soul
unless, first, the foundations
of true humility are laid in our heart.”

no structure of virtue - st john cassian 23 july 2020

“The thief on the cross certainly did not receive
the Kingdom of Heaven as a reward for his virtues
but as a grace and a mercy from God.
He can serve as an authentic witness
that our salvation is given to us
only by God’s mercy and grace.
All the holy masters knew this
and unanimously taught
that perfection in holiness
can be achieved only through humility.”

St John Cassian (c 360- c 435)

the thief on the cross - st john cassian 23 july 2020

“O Lord, make haste and illumine the night.
Say to my soul that nothing happens
without You permitting it
and that nothing of what You permit,
is without comfort.”

_o lord make haste and illumine the night - st bridget of sweden 23 july 2020

“There is no sinner in the world,
however much at enmity with God,
who cannot recover God’s grace,
by recourse to Mary
and by asking her assistance.”

St Bridget of Sweden (c 1303 – 1373)there is no sinner in the world - st bridget o sweden 23 july 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HELL, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, QUOTES on The HUMAN SOUL, SPEAKING of ....., The LAST THINGS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 19 July – Hell

Quote/s of the Day – 19 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19, Psalm 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16, Romans 8:26-27, Matthew 13:24-43

Hell

“Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels
and they will gather out of his kingdom,
all causers of sin and all law-breakers
and throw them into the fiery furnace.
In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Jesus
Matthew 13:40-42

matthew 13 40-42 just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire - 19 july 2020

“Every man will receive the eternal punishment,
or reward which his actions deserve.
Indeed, if all men recognised this,
no-one would choose evil even for a short time,
knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of fire.
On the contrary, he would take every means
to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue,
so that he might obtain the good gifts of God
and escape the punishments.”

St Justin Marytr (100-165)
Father of the Church and Martyr

everyma will receive the eternal - st justin martyr 19 july 2020

“Then shall those, already in the midst of the torments,
cry out with pleading voices
and there will be no-one to speak for them to the Lord
and they shall not be heard.”

St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church

the shall those already in the midst - st ephrem 19 july 2020

“I am filled with fear and trembling
and all my bones are shaken,
at the thought of that unhappy country
of the damned.”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor of the Church

i am filled with fear and trembling - st bernard 19 july 2020

“So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin,
in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity
and who are getting closer to hell each day.
Stop! and turn around;
it is Jesus who calls you and who,
with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices,
cries to you, “My son, if you are damned,
you have only yourself to blame:
‘Thy damnation comes from thee.’
Lift up your eyes and see all the graces
with which I have enriched you
to insure your eternal salvation.'”

St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)

so then i am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin st leonard of port maurice 19 july 2020

“Poor Judas!
Above [2000] years have elapsed
since he has been in Hell
and his Hell is still only beginning.”

St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor of the Church

poor judas - st alphonsus 19 july 2020

“Meditate on the horrors of Hell,
which will last for eternity
because of one easily-committed mortal sin.
Try hard to be among the few who are chosen.
Think of the eternal flames of Hell
and how few there are that are saved.”

meditate-on-the-horrors-of-hell-st-benedict-joseph-labre-16-april-2020 and 19 july 2020

“I was watching souls
going down into the abyss,
as thick and fast as snowflakes,
falling in the winter mist.”

St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)

i was watching souls going down - st benedict joseph labre 19 july 2020

“I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days.
See, they fall into Hell,
as leaves fall from the trees
at the approach of winter.”

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

i tremble when i see so many souls lost - st john vianney 19 july 2020

“The natural fire that we see during this life
has great power to burn and torment.
Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of Hell.”

St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)

the natural fire we see ....yet this is not even a shadow - st anthony mary claret 19 july 2020

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 June – Saint Elisabeth of Schönau (1129-1164)

Saint of the Day – 18 June – Saint Elisabeth of Schönau (1129-1164) Abbess, Mystic, Ascetic, Writer, Spiritual Adivisor – born in 1126 in Bingen, Germany and died on 18 June 1164 at Bingen, Germany of natural causes.st elisabeth-of-schnau-044b573c-331c-4fe3-827b-4be1050eb71-resize-750

In the mid 12th century, Elisabeth of Schönau blurred the conventional gender roles of the time, through the dissemination of her astonishing visions.   Elisabeth lived during a time when women were viewed as the weaker sex, both mentally and physically.   Unless a woman were to join a convent or a religious movement, she would be expected to marry and to bear children.   Elisabeth of Schönau, however, was far from powerless, as her visions led her to acquire enough fame to be known far and wide.   Elisabeth became, not only a local celebrity as a result of her visions but, gained popularity throughout other parts of Germany, as well as in France and England.   This enabled Elisabeth to have her own voice, to be known as an individual and to be sought after in an effort to acquire heavenly advice by high order men, including Bishops and Abbots.   For men of such high order to call upon Elisabeth, a mere woman, is extremely significant given the time period in which Elisabeth lived.   Elisabeth’s visions, as well as her twenty-two letters to Bishops, Abbots and Abbesses, enabled her to transcend the traditional gender roles of the time by making her widely known and giving her an individual voice.st Elisabeth_von_Schönau

Elisabeth was born about 1129, of an obscure noble family named Hartwig.   At the age of 12 she was given to the nuns for education in the St Florin double abbey founded a few years earlier.   At the age of 18 she entered the women’s Congregation.   She made her profession as a Benedictine in 1147.   In 1157 she became Abbess of the nuns under the supervision of Abbot Hildelin.

Her hagiography describes her as given to works of piety from her youth, much afflicted with bodily and mental suffering, a zealous observer of the Rule of Saint Benedict and of the regulation of her convent and devoted to practices of mortification.   In the years 1147 to 1152 Elisabeth suffered recurrent disease, anxiety and depression as a result of her strict asceticism.   St Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church admonished Elisabeth in letters to be prudent in the ascetic life.   St Hildegard here:  https://anastpaul.com/2018/09/17/saint-of-the-day-17-september-st-hildegard-von-bingen-osb-1098-1179-doctor-of-the-church/

At Pentecost in 1152, she first had spiritual experiences of a visionary nature, which she and the nuns and monks understood as the authentic message of God.   These generally occurred on Sundays and Holy Days at Mass or Divine Office or after hearing or reading the lives of Saints.   Christ, the Virgin Mary, an angel, or the special Saint of the day would appear to her and instruct her; or she would see quite realistic representations of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, or other scenes of the Old and New Testaments.st elisabeth of schonau old image

She died on 18 June 1164 at the age of only 35 and was buried in the St Florin Abbey Church.   It is extremely remarkable that she was not buried in the Monastery cemetery or in the Chapel of the nuns but in a prominent place in the Abbey Church itself.   This was unusual and testifies to absolute acceptance of her mystical life, writings and deep veneration.   There has never been a formal Canonisation process (pre-congregation) but every year on the day after her death, that is, on 19 June her memory is celebrated in the Monastery and surrounding towns.   It was not until the late 16th century that she was officially included in the list of Saints at the request of the Archbishop of Mainz and the monks of Schönau (Martyrologium Romanum).

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Shrine and Altar of St Elisabeth of Schönau (with the reliquary in which Elisabeth’s skull is kept – see below) in the Monastery Church of St Florin, Kloster Schönau im Taunus.

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What Elisabeth saw and heard she put down on wax tablets.   Her Abbot, Hildelin, told her to relate these things to her brother Eckbert, then a cleric at Saint Cassius in Bonn, who acted as an editor.   At first she hesitated fearing lest she be deceived or be looked upon as a deceiver but she obeyed.  COMPLETE WORKS OF ST ELISABETH 0F SCHONAUEckbert (who became a Monk of Schönau in 1155 and eventually succeeded Hildelin as second Abbot) put everything in writing, later arranged the material at leisure and then published all under his sister’s name.

While this relationship between brother and sister allowed for Elisabeth’s wide broadcasting of her visionary experiences, it is evident that Eckbert attempted to have a degree of authority over Elisabeth.   Elisabeth’s response to Eckbert’s efforts regarding certain visions is just one example of how Elisabeth’s actions blurred the conventional gender roles.   The works are published in English in a Collected Works edition.

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Statue of St Elisabeth on the south wall of the choir room of St Florin.

Schönau Monastery is a popular place of pilgrimage today.   The Franciscan Minor Monastery is picturesquely situated in the Saale Valley in a river arch on the Franconian Saale.   Steep mountain slopes flank the Monastery and the small town of Schönau.

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Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 May – Saint Mariana de Jesus de Paredes OFS (1618-1645) “The Lily of Quito”

Saint of the Day – 26 May – Saint Mariana de Jesus de Paredes OFS (1618-1645) “The Lily of Quito,”Third Order Franciscan, Hermit, Penitent, Mystic, Ecstatic, miracle-worker. She was endowed with the charism of prophecy.   Born as María Ana de Jesús de Paredes y Flores on 31 October 1618 at Quito, Ecuador and died on 26 May 1645 at Quito, Ecuador, aged 26.   St Mariana is first Canonised Saint of Ecuador and she has been declared a National Herione.   Patronages – Ecuador, Americas, bodily ills, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders, sick people, sickness.   Her Incorrupt body is enshrined in the Cathedral of La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús.st mariana de jesus header

Mariana de Jesus de Paredes was born in the city of Quito, in the New Kingdom of Granada (modern-day Ecuador).    She was born of aristocratic parents on both sides of her family, her father was Don Girolamo Flores Zenel de Paredes, a nobleman of Toledo, Spain and her mother was Doña Mariana Cranobles de Xaramilo, a descendant of one of the best Spanish families.   Mariana was the youngest of eight children and it is claimed her birth was accompanied by most unusual phenomena in the heavens, clearly connected with the child and juridically attested at the time of the process of her Beatification.  St.-Mariana

She was orphaned at a very young age and, thereafter, she was raised by her older sister, Jerónima de Paredes and the latter’s husband, Cosme de Caso.    Mariana was drawn to a spiritual life, her sister and brother-in-law allowed her to live in seclusion in their house, living “the life of an uncloistered beata,” similar to Rose of Lima to whom she is often compared.   She was refused entry into a convent, despite supplication by her brother-in-law and surrogate father, Cosme de Caso.   She subjected herself to bodily mortification, with the aid of her Indian servant.   She did not live in total seclusion but rather focused her spiritual life on the nearby Jesuit church, where she participated in a number of apostolates.

Her spiritual life was closely connected to the Jesuits and her religious name “de Jesús” was no doubt intentional.   Following her death in 1645, her funeral and burial were in the Jesuit church.   The funeral sermon that the priest Fr Alonso de Rojas preached emphasised her bodily mortification and renunciation of the flesh and put her forward as a model for females in Quito to emulate.   “Learn girls of Quito, from your fellow countrywoman, [to prefer] holiness over beauty, virtues over ostentation.”  The sermon became a key document in the long process to establish her saintliness, Beatification (1853) and final Canonisation (1950).st mariana de jesus v lg

The Franciscans claimed de Paredes as a holy person.   She did wear the Franciscan scapulary and sash but her seventeenth-century Jesuit hagiographer, Jacinto Morán de Butrón, confirmed that the Jesuits nurtured her spiritual life.   Soon after Mariana’s 1645 death, the Franciscan province of Peru, based in Lima, included a biography of Mariana in the history of the province citing the Jesuit funeral sermon as a source.   She received the habit of the Third Order from the Franciscans in her native town of Quito.   ccording to her Jesuit hagiographer, Mariana did not go to the Franciscan church to receive the garments but sent someone else.

It is reported that the fast which she kept was so strict that she took scarcely an ounce of dry bread every eight or ten days.   The food which miraculously sustained her life, as in the case of Catherine of Siena and Rose of Lima, was, according to the sworn testimony of many witnesses, the Eucharist alone, which she received every morning in Holy Communion.st mariana de jesus graphic

Mariana possessed an ecstatic gift of prayer and is said to have been able to predict the future, see distant events as if they were passing before her, read the secrets of hearts, cure diseases by a mere sign of the Cross or by sprinkling the sufferer with holy water and at least once restored a dead person to life.    During the 1645 earthquakes and subsequent epidemics in Quito, she publicly offered herself as a victim for the city and died shortly thereafter.st mariana de jesus statue

It is also reported that, on the day she died, her sanctity was revealed in a wonderful manner –  immediately after her death, a pure white lily sprang up from her blood, blossomed and bloomed, a miracle which has given her the title of “The Lily of Quito.”   The Republic of Ecuador has declared her a national heroine.528px-Fesinger_Saint_Mary_Ann_de_Paredes footer statue

St Mariana was Beatified on 10 November 1853, Rome by Pope Pius IX and
was Canonised on 9 July 1950 Rome, by Pope Pius XII.

St Mariana’s incorrupt body is exposed and venerated at her shrine at the Cathedral of La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, known colloquially as La Compañía, is a Jesuit Cathedral in Quito, Ecuador. st mariaa de jesus incorrupt body

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Posted in "Follow Me", ARMOUR of CHRIST, MYSTICS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on MISSION, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on VIRTUE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 May – ‘Who will be crowned without having fought?’

One Minute Reflection – 25 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter, Readings: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-7, John 16:29-33 and the Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)

“In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart, I have conquered the world.” ... John 16:33

REFLECTION – “Let nothing intervene to hinder the progress of any who travel alongside each other, in this evangelical life but let us walk with agile step though the road be rough and hard, let us show a brave and manly spirit, overcome obstacles, pass along from pathway to pathway, from hill to hill, until we climb onto the mountain of the Lord and make a home for ourselves in the holy place of His impassibility.

Now, companions assist each other on the way;  so then, my brothers, as the apostle says: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and make up for whatever is lacking to others (cf. 2 Cor 8:14 ; Phil 2:30).   To the negligence that perhaps holds sway today, noble courage will succeed tomorrow, now one is in gloom and then suddenly one rises to the surface and discovers joy again, at one moment our passions rise up but soon God comes to help us, they are broken and calm returns.   For you will only be seen like this yesterday and the day before but, dear friend, you will not always remain the same but the grace of God will draw near you, the Lord will fight for you and perhaps, like the great Antony, you will say:  “Where were you just now?” and he will answer: “I wanted to see your combat.”

For now, let us persevere, children, dear children, let us be patient for a little, brothers, dear brothers.…   Who will be crowned without having fought?   Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)?   Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul?   Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk – Catechesis 28john 16 33 in the world you will have tribulation- who will be crowned without having fought - st theodore the studite 25 may 2020

PRAYER – Lord God, as You brought joy to the world, through the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, grant that through His Virgin Mother, we may constantly seek and recognise our Lord and Saviour and turn to Him in complete trust and love.   May we ever live in confidence and share our joy with our neighbour.   St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi, pray that we may know the courage of our Saviour.   Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.

BLESSED VIRGIN MARY PRAY FOR US 25 MAY 2020

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Posted in CARMELITES, INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 May – Saint Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)

Saint of the Day – 25 May – Saint Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) Carmelite Nun and Mystic, Ecstatic, she bi-located and was the intercessor of many miracles, Stigmatist – born as Caterina de’ Pazzi (but in the family was called Lucrezia) in 1566 at Florence, Italy and died on 25 May 1607 of natural causes.   Patronages – against bodily ills, against sexual temptation, against sickness, sick people, Naples (co-patron).st maria magdalena de pazzi

The second of four children, Caterina was born in Florence on 2 April 1566, to Camilo de’ Pazzi and Maria Buondelmonti.    In the comfortable setting of a noble family, that began to call her Lucrezia, after her paternal grandmother, the young girl grew up peacefully and with a certain sensitivity to the aesthetic side of her social condition.   Her heart was open to God and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in great simplicity, which is something we can see in the way she might share her lunch pack with a needy person, out of compassion, or the way she would help the children of the poor by gently offering them the first truths of faith.   Her mother’s deep piety and the visits to her home by the Jesuit Fathers, that her parents invited regularly, helped to stamp on Caterina’s soul that sense of Church, “sensus ecclesiae,” that in later life would appeal so much to her conscience.

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St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi at age 16 by Santi di Tito (1583)

At eight years of age, she was sent as a pupil to the nuns at San Giovannino.   The nuns, who noticed the contemplative nature of the child, prepared her for First Holy Communion and not many weeks later, Caterina was sufficiently mature to offer her virginity to God.   She was ten years old and now she didn’t need anymore to get the scent of Jesus, by standing near her mother when she had received Holy Communion, now, she began to meditate on the humanity of Jesus.   As she was learning to read, she came across the Athanasian Creed and she was very inspired by it.   In the same way, she grew to be totally enamoured by the meditations of St Augustine and the Lord’s Passion by Loarte, which she read on the advice of Fr Andrea Rossi, who was her Spiritual Director.   The artworks below are of St Augustine writing on her heart.mary-magdalene-de-pazzi_st-augustine-writing-on-the-heart-of-mmdp_lievo-mehusst maria magdalena de pazzi vision

She had not yet reached the age of seventeen, when she showed her desire to be consecrated to God in religious life.   Having overcome the initial opposition of her family, she entered the monastery in Borgo San Frediano, to join the Carmelite community of Santa Maria degli Angeli who were very happy to have her.   They allowed her to begin as a Postulant on 8 December 1582.   This community, that was well known to and highly regarded by the Bishop of Florence, was attractive to the young girl, principally because of the possibility of receiving Holy Communon everyday.

Two months after entering, on 30 January 1853, Caterina received the Carmelite habit, and with it, the name, Sr Maria Magdalena.   At the end of the novitiate year, it was decided, that she would put her profession back until there were other Novices ready to join her.   Maria Magdalena , however, got very sick in the following months, to the point of almost dying.   With little hope of recovery – even the best doctors in the city had failed to diagnose what today we would call pneuomonia – the Prioress decided to have her make her profession in danger of death, in articulo mortis.

About one hour after her profession, something happened to Magdalena.   It was an experience of rapture in God.   The sisters tell us that when they went to visit her in the infirmary, they came upon the young eighteen year old patient, transfigured and looking very beautiful.   From that day onwards, it was 27 May 1584, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Lord visited her every morning, for forty days and revealed the depth of his love to her.   These frequent episodes gave rise to many misgivings in the young girl whose only desire was to live in the hiddenness of her life in Carmel but, it was obvious, that this kind of grace had to be recognised and preserved.   For that reason, the sisters began very soon to take notes, writing down what Magdalena. would say while in ecstasy and what she would say, out of obedience, to the Prioress and Mistress.st maria magdalena ecstasy

Towards the end of that same year, a new period of divine favour began for her.   This time, Jesus, the divine Word, held her in intense conversation (reported in I Colloqui) that revealed increasingly, the bridal relationship that Christ had formed with her.   It was in one of those ecstasies that Christ brought her into His passion and death.   It was Holy Week in 1585 –  her experiences included the Stigmata impresssed on her soul, the Crown of Thorns, the Crucifixion and every scene from the Gospel was displayed, as if it was happening live in that slender tormented body.   Then, on the Sunday after Easter, she received from her divine Bridegroom the ring of her mystical marriage.481px-Pedro_de_Moya_-_Vision_of_St_Maria_Magdalena_di_Pazzi_-_WGA16308st maria magdalena de pazzi receiving the crown of thorns

The manuscript titled, Revelazioni e Intelligenze, gives a faithful account of the communication of God’s grace, that in the days between the vigil of Pentecost and the Sunday of the Blessed Trinity, gave Magdalena, an entry into the revelation, of the inner dimensions of her Trinitarian life.   What was communicated to her, was what goes on between the divine person, and how the human person can fulfil a supernatural vocation, by allowing this mystery dwelling within, to do its work.

The central element in this understanding, is the saving mission of the Word, Love, made flesh in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary and the intuition of “dead love” as the highest expression of the ultimate gift of self.

On the last day of this intense octave of Pentecost, Magdalena began to see, with some clarity, that the moment had arrived when God, as He had made known to her already on a few occasions, was about to take away from her, the enjoyment of His presence. That was the beginning of five very difficulty years of torment and temptation, to the point where she felt as if she had been thrown into the “lions’ den” and reduced to “nothing.”   In these interior trials, described in the Probazione, Jesus continued to support her but without lessening the radical purification that striped her bare, made her more simple and extremely receptive to His visits.   In the heart of the crucible, however, Magdalena also received understanding from God concerning the condition of the Church of her time – so slow to implement the renewal sought by the Council of Trent – and she felt that she was being drawn by the Truth, to be involved in a practical way, in calling to order prelates, cardinals and even the Pope, Sixtus V.   The twelve letters that she dictated in ecstasy, in the Summer of 1586 are collected in the volume titled, Rinnovamento della Chiesa.   The five years of trial restored to us a Magdalena. transformed  . The Lord had brought her through a divinising process, through which, today, she could well be considered a master and guide.05-29 st maria-magdalena-pazzi

After Pentecost 1590, she returned to the normality of ordinary life, something she had always wanted.   Apart from just a few and important, moments of ecstasy (reported in the second part of the Probazione) her days passed quietly as she went about the jobs she had to do (on account of her spiritual maturity she was put in charge of the young sisters in formation) and all the other forms of humble service that she tended to seek.   Then the experience of “naked suffering” took hold of her and this would unite her once and for all to the Crucified Bridegroom.

Sr Magdalena could read the thoughts of others and predict future events.   For instance, during one ecstatic event she predicted the future elevation to the Papacy of Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici (as Pope Leo XI).   During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured many sick people.mary-magdelene-de-pazzi holy card

The symptoms of tuberculosis began to appear in 1603.   As her strength declined, she suffered the added pain of not being able to feel anything of the Lord’s presence.   Just her presence in the community, in the eyes of the sisters, had become a vision of God’s work of art about to be completed.   On 25 May 1607, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Sr Maria Magdalena, at the age of forty-one gave up her spirit.

She was buried in the choir of the Monastery chapel.   She was Beatified in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII.   At her Canonisation in 1668, her body was declared miraculously incorrupt. Her body is located in the Monastery of Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi in Careggi.st maria magdalena body

Posted in INCORRUPTIBLES, MYSTICS

Saint of the Day – 12 March – Blessed Giustina Francucci Bezzoli (c 1257-1319)

Saint of the Day – 12 March – Blessed Giustina Francucci Bezzoli (c 1257-1319) Virgin of the Order of St Benedict, Hermitess and Anchoress, Mystic – born in c 1257 in Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy and died on 12 March 1319 in Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy of natural causes while praying.   A white lily grew out of the stone of her tomb.   Her body is incorrupt.   Patronages – eye and sight diseases and problems, demonics.bl giustina_francucci_bezzoli_45_01

In Florence, in the Benedictine monastery of St Maria del Fiore in Lapo, the incorrupt body of Blessed Giustina Bezzoli Francucci is kept and venerated, moved here from the Monastery of the Holy Spirit of Arezzo in 1968, when the two cloistered communities met.   The large church of the monastery, in the centre of the village north of Florence, on Via Faentina, has also been a parish since 1938 and so, in admirable harmony, the two communities live and pray side by side, enriching each other with different gifts of the Spirit.   The nuns’ choir is the extension of the church and in the centre there is the tabernacle.   The community was founded by the wealthy Lapo da Fiesole who in 1350 hosted the first nuns here.   On 13 October of that year, Bishop S. Andrea Corsini consecrated the monastery with the rule of St Augustine and with the title of St Maria del Fiore which is older here than the Florentine cathedral  . The Augustinians remained until 1808, when they had to leave because of the laws for the suppression of religious orders, the Benedictines took over in 1817.   The tomb with the body of the Blessed is placed in a wall that unites the two communities and is visible from both sides – her face looks towards the cloister and seems to invite the lay faithful to dedicate time to prayer.

Blessed Giustina was a descendant of a very noble family, the Bezzoli Francucci and was born in Arezzo between 1257 and 1260.   With a lovable and humble character, she quickly gained a certain maturity.   In the rich paternal home, between ease and comfort, she assimilated with daily prayer, the most genuine religious sentiments.  She often deprived herself of food and loved to retire to her room to pray, thus the decision to consecrate herself to God matured at a very young age.   Her parents refused her permission and denied her any argument.   A single, beloved daughter, heir of conspicuous wealth, she had a very enviable future ahead of her – marriage to a man worthy of her family.   We know, however, that the ways of the Lord are not the ways of men – she first convinced her father with many tears and pleadings, then it was the turn of her paternal uncle, who was also determined not to deprive himself of his only
niece.   A serious illness of the father made everyone reflect on the transience of things and Giustina obtained the desired approval.   She was only twelve years old and this decision is incomprehensible to us but, at that time, important choices were sometimes made at that age.

Giustina was welcomed into the monastery of St Marco (which no longer exists today), bringing only an image of the Crucifix with her.   A dove landed on her head upon entry, an eloquent sign that the Holy Spirit was already assisting the humble daughter of the Holy Father Benedict.  She left everything to devote herself to meditating on the Word of God – the rough habit took the place of opulent silks and satin clothes.    Giustina was an exemplary novice, in the simplest tasks she responded with obedience to the needs of the community.   Giustina stayed in the monastery for about four years, until she was forced to leave with her sisters because of the wars that devastated the city.   With her Crucifix she moved to the Monastery of All Saints but even here the stay was not long.

One day she heard that in a cave, at the Castle of Civitella, a virgin named Lucia voluntarily lived.   To join this Lucis, it to share the most austere practice of Christian virtues became her greatest desire.   With the permission of Bishop Guglielmo Umbertini she moved to the hermitage where Lucia, very happily, welcomed her.   In extreme poverty they received a visit from Giustina’s father who, we can imagine with how much anguish, he tried in vain to bring her home.

The coexistence of the two anchorites lasted only a few years, until Lucia became seriously ill and the young companion assisted her with love until the moment of her death.   Left alone, Giustina continued to live devoted only to prayer and penance, visibly comforted by the Celestial Bridegroom who, through an angel, defended her several times from the attacks of wolves.   Such and many deprivations could not fail to undermine her health and at only thirty-five she began to have serious vision problems. She was forced to return to the monastery amidst the jubilation of the sisters who
now saw in her a heavenly soul.   However, the monastery was subject to soldiers’ raids
and the bishop Ildebrando Guidi had to transfer it to a safe place.   It was the year 1315 and Giustina changed residence again.

The Blessed had a singular devotion to the Passion of Christ and, although sick, she practised many mortifications.   She spent the last twenty years of her life, completely blind, falling into ecstasy several times, even in the presence of her sisters.   She lived in conditions of great misery but always confident in Providence and those who asked for a word of comfort did not fail to help them as much as she could.   She died praying, surrounded by her companions, on 12 March 1319.   On her body were evident, the sores caused by an iron chain, that for years had encased her fragile body.

The graces obtained through her intercession were immediately numerous.   A white lily grew spontaneously on her grave and with this attribute, Giotto painted it for the Florentine Church of Mercy.   The body, ten years after her death, was surprisingly flexible and the Bishop of Arezzo, Buono degli Uberti, confirmed the spontaneous cult that had been born in the people.   Two centuries later her body was enclosed in an iron chest until 1709, when it it was again exhumed and confirmed to be incorrupt.   An ancient war flag was found in the coffin left by a captain as an ex voto around 1384. Some fragments of the banner were distributed to the faithful as relics.
Blessed Giustina is invoked especially for eye and sight problems but some demoniacs have also been exorcised in front of her Shrine.

Blessed Giustina was Beatified on 14 January 1891 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmation).

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Posted in MYSTICS, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 4 January – Pope Benedict and St Angela of Foligno

Quote/s of the Day – 4 January – Saturday of Christmas – the Memorial of Saint Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)

“Dear brothers and sisters, Blessed Angela’s life began with a worldly existence, rather remote from God.   Yet her meeting with the figure of St Francis and, finally, her meeting with Christ Crucified, reawakened her soul to the presence of God, for the reason that with God alone life becomes true life, because, in sorrow for sin, it becomes love and joy.   And this is how Blessed Angela speaks to us.

Today we all risk living as though God did not exist, God seems so distant from daily life. However, God has thousands of ways of His own for each one, to make Himself present in the soul, to show that He exists and knows and loves me.   And Blessed Angela wishes to make us attentive to these signs with which the Lord touches our soul, attentive to God’s presence, so as to learn the way with God and towards God, in communion with Christ Crucified.

Let us pray the Lord that He make us attentive to the signs of His presence and that He teach us truly to live.”

Pope Benedict XVI
A talk on Angela of Foligno – October, 2010today we all rish living as if god did not exist - pope benedict - 1000s of ways on st angela of foligno 4 jan 2019.jpg

“O children of God,
transform yourselves totally
in the human-God who so loved you
that He chose to die for you,
a most ignominious and altogether
unutterably painful death
and in the most painful and bitterest way.
And this was solely for love of you,
O human being.”

Saint Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)o children of god - st angela of foligno 4 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – “Come and see.” 

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Saturday of Christmas, Readings:
1 John 3:7-10, Psalm 98:1, 7-9, John 1:35-42

He said to them, “Come and see.”   They came and saw where he was staying and they stayed with him that day … John 1:39

REFLECTION“John was there and two of his disciples with him.”   John was such “a friend of the Bridegroom” that he did not seek his own glory, he simply bore witness to the truth (Jn 3:29.26).   Did he dream of keeping back his disciples and preventing them from following the Lord?   Not in the least.   He himself showed them the one they were to follow (…) He declared:   “Why cling to me?   I am not the Lamb of God.   Behold the Lamb of God (…) Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”

At these words the two disciples who were with John followed Jesus.   “Jesus turned and saw that they were following him and said to them:   ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him: ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?”   As yet they were not following Him definitively, as we know, they joined themselves to Him when He called them to leave their boat (…), when He said to them:  “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). That was the moment they joined Him definitively, no longer to leave Him.  But for now they wanted to see where Jesus was living and put into practice the words of Scripture:  “If you see an intelligent man, seek him out at daybreak;  let your feet wear away his doorstep!   Learn from him the precepts of the Lord” (cf. Sir 6:36f.).   So Jesus showed them where He was living, they went and stayed with Him.   What a happy day they spent! What a blessed night!   Who can say what it was they heard from the Lord’s mouth?   Let us, too, build a dwelling in our hearts, construct a house where Christ can come to teach and converse with us.” … St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermons on Saint John’s Gospel, no 7john 1 39 he said to them come and see - let us too build a dwelling - st augustine 4 jan 2020.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, the light of a new star in heaven, heralded Your saving love  . Let the light of Your salvation dawn in our hearts and keep them always open to Your life-giving grace.   May we stay with Your Son, for He will teach us Your ways.   Kindly hear the prayers on our behalf of Mary our mother and of all Your saints and may St Angela of Foligno intercede today on our behalf.    Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.st angela of foligno pray for us 4 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in CARMELITES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 December – Blessed Mary of the Angels Fontanella OCD (1661-1717) “The Fragrant Rose of Turin,”

Saint of the Day – 16 December – Blessed Mary of the Angels Fontanella OCD (1661-1717) “The Fragrant Rose of Turin,” Discalced Carmelite, Mystic, Stigmatist, Marian devotee and client of St Joseph, Prioress, Spiritual director – born as Marianna Fontanella on 7 January 1661 at Balderino, Italy and died on 16 December 1717 of natural causes at Turin, Iraly.   Also known as Maria degli Angeli, Maria Fontanella of the Angels.  Bl Mary studied with the Cistercians as a child and entered the Discalced Carmelites despite the protests of her mother and siblings – she soon became a noted abbess and prioress and in 1703 inaugurated a new convent she herself oversaw the establishment of and later, instigated the building of a beautiful Basilica in honour of the Blessed Virgin. 464px-bl Anna_Maria_Fontanella.jpg

Marianna Fontanella came into the world on January 7, 1661.   She was the youngest of 11 children born to Count Giovanni of Turin and his wife, Lady Maria Tana.   The mother had among her close relatives, the mother of St Aloysius de Gonzaga SJ (1568-1591), a youthful aristocrat who renounced a life of privilege to become a holy Jesuit.   The fact that there was an official Saint counted among her kin was undoubtedly a source of pride for the family but it wasn’t enough to impress Marianna to want to become one too.   It was related that this Blessed initially lived her early years in a manner typical of her high social status – she was well-educated, pampered and exposed to all sorts of social niceties and assemblies … and she enjoyed it all, especially the fancy outfits and the dances.

However, on one particular day, while still a young child, she sat in front of a mirror admiring herself when her own reflection vanished to be replaced by a vision – Christ appeared in the mirror, sadly staring back at her, battered and crowned with thorns.  The experience so shocked Marianna that it had the immediate effect of a lasting conversion.   From that moment on she shunned her elaborate wardrobe and jewellery and began exercising a devout mode of living despite her tender age.   In 1667 she schemed with a little brother to imitate the saints and to run off to live “in the desert” though, at the time they were meant to begin this journey, the two were so fast asleep that their plan was spoiled.

Due to her familial relationship with him, she adopted Saint Luigi Gonzaga as a model for personal holiness and made an effort to imitate the late saint’s example.   In 1673 as a 12-year-old, Marianna accompanied one of her sisters to the Cistercian Monastery in Saluzzo where the latter was entering into religious life.   Somehow, Marianna was able to persuade her parents to allow her to board with the nuns and she remained with them for over a year until her mother recalled her home due to the unexpected death of her father.   Back at the family villa, she resisted her family’s efforts to marry her off and she practised a regimen of prayer and self-mortification.   Apparently, while with the Cistercians, an earlier resolve she made to become a nun had strengthened but she was undecided as to which order to join.

After providentially meeting and speaking with a venerable Carmelite priest during one of the rare public exhibitions of the Holy Shroud of Turin, Marianna applied with the local Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Santa Cristina.   Lady Maria reluctantly consented when it became clear that her daughter could not be dissuaded, so Marianna made her entrance into Carmel on 19 November 1675, she was 14-years-old and took the name Maria of the Angels.BL Maria_degli_Amgeli

The first year in the monastery was not easy for the aspiring nun.   The sweetness of spirit and the divine favours she had started to enjoy before entering, evaporated, leaving Sr Maria with a terrible dryness in her soul.   She clung desperately to her faith and, guided by a meticulous novice mistress, she managed to reach profession on 26 December 1676…  but the sense of separation from God – the “dark night of the soul” – continued to torment her for the next 15 years.   The devil aggravated the situation, via severe temptations and diabolic assaults.

Fortunately, the beleagured nun weathered her personal storm through the consistent practice of virtue, especially humility and obedience towards her superiors.   All that she suffered, served to purify her spirit, as Jesus was leading her on a singular path of extraordinary mystical union with Himself, as was proven later on.

By 1691 Sr Maria was finally free of the darkness and began experiencing supernatural lights with greater intensity.   Sublime visions of Christ and heavenly inhabitants resumed, along with other mystical gifts such as Prophecy, the Stigmata and the Fragrance of Sanctity.   It was reported that the beautiful scent that constantly surrounded her was so obvious, that the other nuns could track her whereabouts by following the aroma she left in her wake.   The Blessed, on her part, took to carrying small bundles of flowers and spices to try to disguise the heavenly scent but to no avail – it increased on feast days and during times when she was ill and unable to take precautions, to disguise the fragrance.   Even things she handled, were imbued with the delightful scent!Blessed-Mary-Fontanella-1.jpg

Noting her many virtues and fine example of Carmelite spirituality, the community elected Sr Maria to the post of novice mistress in 1691 then prioress in 1694.   Word soon spread outside of the monastery about the extraordinary prioress and people began seeking her counsel and prayers, including the reigning king of the region, Vittorio Amadeo II of the royal house of Savoy and other members of the nobility.   Vocations to the Carmel of St Cristina increased, which necessitated the founding of another monastery in nearby Moncalieri in 1703, with the encouragement from Blessed Sebastian Valfrè CO (1629-1710).   Sr Maria had hoped to transfer there, to be away from the centre of the limelight but the king explicitly forbade her to ever leave Turin, due to his dependence on her advice and his devotion to her.

BL MARY OF THE ANGELS WITH CHRIST
A depiction of Bl Maria of the Angels interceding with Christ to spare
Turin from a chastisement of the dreaded plague.

Public esteem for the prioress reached a pinnacle in 1696 when the city was besieged by an invading army.   She publicly announced that the city would be saved if people turned to St Joseph, for help, which they did.   Turin was liberated and, in gratitude, St Joseph was proclaimed the Patron Saint of the city by the king.   Similarly, in 1706 when the French besieged the city, the citizens and royals turned to the intercession of their resident mystic – the nun invoked the Holy Virgin’s protection and the city’s army was again victorious.   At Sr Mary’s urging, a church – the great Basilica of the Superga (Superga is a Hill in Turin) – was built to commemorate the victory and to honour Our Lady.

 

 

Basilica of Superga bl mary of the angels.jpg
The beautiful Basilica of the Superga in Turin, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin,
and constructed under the prompting of Bl Maria of the Angels.   Below is a window of Bl Maria in the Basilica.

BL mary_of_the_angels__basilica_window_.jpg

Sr Maria of the Angels died peacefully in her monastery on 16 December 1717, after living a productive life of prayer, self-sacrifice and service to her beloved people.   She was 56-years-old at the time of her death and all of Turin mourned the passing of she, who had saved them from wars and even a plague in 1714.

At the instigation of King Vittorio, the holy nun’s Cause for Canonisation was started just a few years after the death of Sr Maria.   Pope Pius IX declared her a Blessed on 25 April 1865 but a second miracle has yet to be officially recognised for the prioress to reach sainthood.   Let us pray for her speedy Canonisation.BL MARY RELICS of Bl. Maria.jpg